For the first time, a competitor with Down syndrome has completed an Ironman triathlon. Chris Nikic achieved the impressive physical feat Saturday in Florida, CNN reports. The event consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-marathon run; Nikic completed the course in 16 hours, 46 minutes, and 9 seconds. "IRONMAN. Goal set and achieved. Time to set a new and BIGGER Goal for 2021," he posted on Instagram. Nikic, a notable Special Olympian and founder of the 1% Better Challenge, has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for the accomplishment.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that the 21-year-old stopped more than once to hug family and friends on the sidelines during the final yards of the race. "The doctors and experts said I couldn’t do anything," he said in an interview after he crossed the finish line. "So I said, ‘Doctor! Experts! You need to stop doing this to me. You’re wrong!’" Says an Ironman VP, "I think this will open doors for a lot of other folks who maybe just thought it was impossible." (Read more uplifting news stories.)