1% Better

Author: Austin Gatlin

Posted November 11th, 2020

        On Saturday, November 9th at 5:52 AM Central time, a historic event began. The 2020 Vist Panama City Beach Ironman Florida triathlon featured an inspirational, determined, champion ready to race and tackle the obstacles ahead just like he had done all his life. A 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile (marathon) run stood in the way of Chris Nikic and a goal three years in the making. The tiring rigorous course is not the only thing Chris has fought during his life. Chris has down-syndrome, which causes learning disabilities, slower physical development, and more. “Ironman served as his platform to become one step closer to his goal of living a life of inclusion, normalcy, and leadership,” said his dad Nik Nikic. Nik was the one to start Chris on this journey. One day he noticed Chris was becoming increasingly sedentary. This is when Nik challenged his son to become 1% better each day. Chris accepted his dad’s challenge. He started his training with a single push-up. Fast forward and by becoming 1% better each day Chris is shattering barriers. He is creating opportunities. He is proving that anything is possible. Although he faced cuts, bruises, and ant bites, nothing was stopping him from achieving his goals. Chris Nikic became an IRONMAN finishing with a time of 16 hours, 16 minutes, and nine seconds, just less than 14 minutes under the 17-hour limit. Chris was not alone. Along with all the supporters on the sidelines by his side, Chris had a competitor as Dan Grieb, a 16x IRONMAN, raced alongside Chris as his guide, coach, and friend. Chris drew many congratulations and applause all over the world. Chris started his Ironman journey to create inclusion and awareness for Down Syndrome and the Special Olympics. Chris posted on Instagram a while after his finish saying, “Goal set and achieved. Time to set a new and BIGGER Goal for 2021.” 

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