In the News

“17 Hours: The Chris Nikic Story” Premieres on ESPN in Honor of World Down Syndrome Day

In celebration of World Down Syndrome Day, ESPN premiered “17 Hours: The Chris Nikic Story” on SportsCenter.

On 7 November 2020, Chris Nikic—a Special Olympics Florida athlete—broke barriers as he crossed the finish line of the IRONMAN Florida Triathlon. He conquered the grueling 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile marathon in a total time of 16:46:09.

The SC Featured film follows Chris’s journey from his training days in the beginning to the end of the race, as he becomes the first person with Down syndrome to complete a full IRONMAN Triathlon.

Read and watch here.

Trailer: “17 Hours: The Chris Nikic Story”

Chris’ first IRONMAN race is just part of his story. ESPN is expanding on the piece shared during the SportsCenter broadcast with a companion web video focusing on how Chris has grown as a role model. It features 14-year old Special Olympics Florida athlete Caleb who is being mentored by Chris on how to become a winning triathlete.

What else can we expect from Chris! In June 2022, Chris will compete at the Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

Special Olympics and ESPN’s partnership is rooted in a shared belief that sports can change the world. As the Global Broadcast Partner of Special Olympics and the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports®, ESPN is committed to building positive attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities by fostering an environment of social and cultural inclusion.

Chris Nikic, Special Olympics Champion Ambassador
Chris Nikic set a Guinness World Record by becoming the first person with Down syndrome to complete a full IRONMAN in November 2020. As a Special Olympics Florida athlete, he has competed in golf, track and field, swimming, basketball and triathlons. This recent high school graduate and motivational speaker attributes his successes in sports and life to his 1% Better philosophy – focus on getting 1% Better each day and you can achieve you dreams! As an Ambassador, Chris strives to raise awareness and promote inclusion for the Special Olympics community and others with intellectual disabilities.

Recommended Content
Sixteen hours and 46 minutes later, as the nighttime darkness settled in, Chris crossed the finish line and made history of as the first person with Down syndrome to finish a full IRONMAN race.
2 Min Read
Coach, Unified partner and guide Daniel Grieb reflects on his training journey with Chris Nikic, Special Olympics Florida, and his quest to be the first athlete with Down syndrome on record to complete a full Ironman distance race (140.6 miles).
2 Min Read
Chris Nikic, a Special Olympics Florida athlete who has Down syndrome, competes in golf, swimming, track, basketball and triathlons.
2 Min Read