Florida athlete Chris Nikic gifted his mother his medal after becoming the first person with Down syndrome to complete the Ironman Triathlon. His father Nik Nikic captured the moment at their home in Maitland on November 9.
Nik told Storyful his son Chris promised he would give his first Ironman finisher medal to his mother, who “dedicated her life” to help him.
“His mom took him to thousands of therapies just to teach him very basic skills like eating, talking, fine motor skills, and many others,” said Nikic. “So when he decided to do an Ironman, he wanted to thank his mom for the thousands of hours she spent helping him.”
As a child, Chris suffered many health setbacks as a result of his condition. He was born with two holes in his heart and needed open heart surgery at just four-months-old. Chris also had low muscle tone, which meant that he could not walk until he was four-years-old.
Despite his health struggles, Chris finished the multisport race over the weekend and became the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon, the Special Olympics announced. Credit: Nik Nikic via Storyful