ESPN To Honor Athlete With Down Syndrome
A triathlete who became the first Ironman with Down syndrome will receive a prestigious award from ESPN on national television.
The network said that it will honor Chris Nikic with its Jimmy V Award for Perseverance next month. The award is given annually to a “deserving member of the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination.”
Nikic made history last November when he completed a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile marathon run to complete the Ironman Florida competition in Panama City Beach, Fla.
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“Wow, what an honor to receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance and to be included with such an amazing group of people,” Nikic said in a statement. “As a Special Olympics ambassador, I represent millions of athletes around the world who can now believe that inclusion is real for all of them. Thank you for me, but more importantly for the Down syndrome community and my fellow Special Olympics athletes.”
In addition to the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance, Nikic is also nominated in the Best Athlete with a Disability, Men’s Sports category. Both awards will be given at the 2021 ESPYS, which will be broadcast live July 10 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
“Chris’ unique, inspirational story personifies the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance,” said Rob King, senior vice president and editor-at-large at ESPN Content. “We are honored to present him with this award and look forward to seeing what he accomplishes next.”
Previous recipients of the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance include former NFL quarterback Jim Kelly, sports reporter Craig Sager and Dick and Rick Hoyt. The Hoyts completed more than 1,000 races with Dick Hoyt pushing a wheelchair for his son, Rick Hoyt, who has cerebral palsy.