Role Model Inspires Boy With Down Syndrome To Complete Mini-Triathalon

One of the most important qualities a true hero needs to have is the ability to lift people up and make them feel valued.

And this can be seen in the story of a 14-year-old boy with Down Syndrome who completed a mini-triathlon after meeting his hero and mentor Chris Nikic, the first person with Down Syndrome to take part in the Ironman triathlon.

Caleb Prewitt from Jacksonville, Florida, had little-to-no belief in himself and his abilities to do anything of value until he met Chris.

“If we had a poster of Chris, it would be in Caleb’s room. Chris is Caleb’s hero,” Caleb’s mother Karen said.

Chris Nikic (left) with Caleb Prewitt. Image: Karen Prewitt

Last year, Chris was able to complete a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon run at the Ironman competition in Panama City Beach, Florida, in just 16 hours, 46 minutes and 9 seconds!

“I don’t remember when I stopped crying after Chris crossed the Ironman finish line, to be honest,” Karen said. “I couldn’t help but just cry and cry. And I know that Caleb felt it, too. Those tears were there because he did it against all the odds, against all the barriers. Not only the barriers of society, but the barriers of his physical body. There were moments when we weren’t sure if Chris was going to finish. Moments where we knew he was struggling during the run. And the fact that he crossed the finish line with time to spare was something I’ll never forget. It felt like in that moment he was carrying the Down syndrome community on his shoulders.”


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A post shared by Chris Nikic (@chrisnikic)

And shortly after, Chris showed the world the true meaning of the word hero.

He took Caleb along on his adventures, became his teacher, worked out with him and planted the seeds of true confidence in the young man.

The two met at an Orlando bike camp. Children with Caleb’s condition normally have difficulties riding bikes due to balancing issues.

“Caleb wanted to meet Chris right away. I asked Nik if we could meet them after the camp, and the Nikic family invited us over to their house so that Caleb could do a mini training session with Chris. Caleb and Chris got to spend the day together, and I still remember the permanent smile on Caleb’s face that day,” Karen said.


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A post shared by Chris Nikic (@chrisnikic)

And one month later, Caleb had become an expert bike rider.

“I couldn’t believe it, but I could. He was inspired by Chris. That encounter made an impact on him,” the proud mother said.

Image: Karen Prewitt

A few weeks ago, Caleb completed his first mini-triathlon.

He is said to be the youngest contender with Down Syndrome in history. He was also invited to compete on Florida’s Special Olympics triathlon team, which Chris is also a part of.

For CBS’s report on the story please see the video below.

What are your thoughts on this inspiring story? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you’ve enjoyed it. 

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