USA Today Sports Highlights Chris Nikic, Special Olympics Florida Athlete, and His IRONMAN Quest

Chris Nikic standing after a swim meet with medals round his neck.

This is an excerpt from the USA Today article titled “Special Olympian Chris Nikic trains to be first person with Down syndrome to complete Ironman.”

“In Chris' world, he's already dealt with plenty of adversity. He had open-heart surgery when he was 5 months old and needed a walker when he was 3.

But Chris says it's being called "stupid" and feeling "less than" by adults and peers that have hurt the most.

‘Having (Down syndrome) means I have to work harder than everyone else,’ Nikic said. ‘I've learned to work harder in (life), and that's helped me be ready for Ironman.’

Nikic, a Maitland, Florida resident, had been training four hours a day for six days a week to get ready for his first Half Ironman competition in Panama City Beach in May, which was postponed. He is now preparing for the full Ironman in November in Panama City Beach. But the coronavirus pandemic has postponed or canceled competitions, and Nikic's workout regimen has been more challenging with swims at the lake instead of the pool and most workouts outside the closed local gym.”

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