The Disney Parks Blog shared this touching story of Nikic, who is the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon.
Sturgess, who works at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, reunited with Nikic recently as he joined other training partners and friends to celebrate his remarkable accomplishment.
The Ironman race Chris completed consists of a 2.4-mile swim in the ocean, a 112-mile bike course and a 26.2-mile run, which he had 17 hours to complete.
Chris completed the race in 16 hours, 46 minutes and nine seconds.
Jennifer was by his side for the entire bike ride and even ran the last 17 miles of the marathon for encouragement.
“Shortly after the bike portion, our triathlon club got a frantic call from our coach that Chris was struggling in the last leg of the race and needed everyone to surround him and cheer him on,” Jennifer said. “Because I was a participant, I was able to get back on the course and encourage him across the finish line with our other training partners.”
Chris’ accomplishment is breaking down barriers and promoting further inclusion. During the race a spectator ran alongside Chris and his team while holding up his phone to Facetime his sister who had just recently given birth to a daughter with Down syndrome. The man shared his story with Chris and his team and told them about the hope he had given his sister.
“He said what we’re doing for Chris is what his sister hopes for with her child,” Jennifer said of the spectator.
The Disney Parks Blog shared a video of Chris’ visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World: