If you don't remember our guy Chris Nikic then shame on you.
Back in July of 2020 Chris caught our attention for posting a story of his daily routine which entailed training 6 hours to compete in the Ironman Triathalon while also maintaining his day job as a motivational speaker.
From there, I was able to develop the beginning of a friendship with Chris, his father Nik, and his trainer Dan which evolved into my buddy Mojo and I traveling down to Orlando to train with Chris and hang out for a day.
Chris was training to become the first person in history with special needs to compete in the Ironman Triathalon.
He stuck to his goals, and not only finished the race, he crushed it.
But he wasn't finished there.
He was just getting started actually.
ESPN honored him as the recipient of The Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at last year's ESPY's.
And he absolutely CRUSHED his acceptance speech.
After that it was on to completing the 125th running of the Boston Marathon
The guy is relentless.
But he also parties.
In October, Chris joined one of the best charity organizations I know, The Brett Boyer Foundation, for the annual Red Bird Games at Luke Bryan's farm in Tennessee.
Since then Chris has been working on his golf game
Giving motivational speeches at Riggs' house
And signing a major sponsorship deal with Adidas. No big deal.
CBS Boston - March 21, or 3-21, is the date for World Down Syndrome Day. It’s also the number that signifies the chromosome that causes Down syndrome.
Now, it’s the Boston Marathon bib number that will always be held for a neurodivergent athlete.
This year, the runner wearing bib 321 is Chris Nikic, who ran his first Boston Marathon back in October.
He’s also the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman Triathalon.
And now, Chris is the first Adidas-sponsored athlete with Down syndrome.
He and his dad Nik told WBZ-TV they’re hoping every marathon will follow Boston’s lead and dedicate bib 321 to a neurodivergent athlete.
“When I see what Adidas has done for him and I see what the Boston Marathon is doing for him, they’re really not doing it for him per se, they’re doing it for all those other parents and giving them hope,” Nik said.
“He’s absolutely right. This is not about me. it’s about everyone that needs to be included,” Chris told WBZ about his message. “Because if Chris Nikic does the Boston Marathon, I can do it too!”
Could not be more proud of this kid.
Some people look at Chris and think to themselves, “gee Chris sure has done a lot with being dealt a tough hand.”
But that’s where they couldn’t be more wrong.
And that’s the misconception that Chris is working so hard to change. And that he IS changing.
Chris truly believes he’s the lucky one. That without his special gifts he wouldn’t be in the unique position he is to change the worlds views on people with special needs, and the whole notion of inclusivity.
Chris isn’t out there smashing Special Olympics records (No offense whatsoever to Special Olympians or the incredible organization and what they do). He’s competing with the best athletes in the entire world, and more than holding his own.
If that’s not an inspiration to ALL of us than I don’t know what is.
He’s one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met and it’s a giant honor knowing somebody changing the world like he is.
“1% better every day.”
Keep going Chris!