From a boy with Down syndrome to Ironman finisher – Chris Nikic is a true inspiration for many athletes. The 22-year-old American triathlete became the first person with Down syndrome ever to finish a long distance triathlon at Ironman Florida in 2020. And he can now add another achievement to his resume: winning a Laureus Award for “Sporting Moment of the Year.” The event took place yesterday – virtually – from Seville (Spain).
“Amazing day of #inclusion,” Nikic wrote on his Instagram. He had a busy day, he continues: “Swim lesson, swim training on my new ‘Vasa trainer,’ speech for ‘Sales Force’ for 1000 people on inclusion, then watched with my family and friends the Laureus Sports announce that I won the ‘Sporting Moment of the Year’ award. So then what? 48 mile bike ride. Why? Ironman Kona baby. Let’s see if we can do it again?” Nikic thanks all his followers for their support and makes it clear that this prize is for inclusion: “Inclusion is going home with the prize.”
Last year Nikic was nominated for the Laureus World Sports Awards too, in the “Inspiration of the Year” category. He didn’t end up winning the award, which went to American basketball player Maya Moore.
Triathletes at Laureus World Sports Awards
It’s not the first time that a triathlete has been nominated for one of the Laureus World Sports Awards. In 2019 Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf was nominated for the “World Sportswoman of the Year” award, but American gymnast Simone Biles took the win. In 2020 the Dutch para triathlete Jetze Plat was one of the nominees for the “Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability” award. Plat didn’t end up winning the award as the title went to American cross country skier Oksana Masters. In 2016 Jan Frodeno won in the category “Action Sports Person of the Year.”
Sportsman and woman of the year
The 2021 Laureus “Sportsman of the Year” award was won by Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal. The “Sportswoman of the Year” award was also won by a tennis player: Japan’s Naomi Osaka. Britain’s race car driver Lewis Hamilton took home the award in the category “Athlete Advocate of the Year” for his involvement in the fight against racism.