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Meet the Athletes Who Are Making History and Inspiring Others

by Kennedy Terry

Archi Trujillo

Every athlete, regardless of ability, deserves the opportunity to complete and showcase their talents. On World Down Syndrome Day, we recognize the dedication, passion and resilience of our athletes on and off the course and celebrate the spirit and diversity of our sport.

Chris Nikic, Abigail “the Advocate” Adams, Caleb Prewitt and Gabriel Cobb are just a few of the incredible triathletes in the community who continue to set and accomplish their goals, inspire others and encourage athletes to dream big.

Chris Nikic

A true IRONMAN, Chris Nikic was the first man with Down Syndrome to finish a full-distance IRONMAN in November 2020 in Florida. In 2022, Chris raced at the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, completing the race in a time of 16 hours, 31 minutes.  

Chris’s journey started in 2018 after he graduated high school and focused on getting 1% better every day. This inspired him to create the 1% Better Challenge which promotes Down Syndrome awareness by challenging yourself to get 1% better for 30 days and helping someone to do the same.

Chris is a Special Olympics, IRONMAN and Laureus Global Ambassador and is currently training for IRONMAN Hawaii in November 2024.

Known as Abigail the Advocate, Abigail Adams became the first woman with Down Syndrome to complete a sprint triathlon. She recently finished her 15th sprint triathlon!

When she is not training or competing, you can find Abigail on the runway modeling, running her makeup and apparel business and supporting various foundations like the National Down Syndrome Society and the Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida! In 2023, Abigail spoke at the USA Triathlon Foundation Gala and Hall of Fame Induction at USA Triathlon Nationals in Milwaukee.

(Photo by Archi Trujillo)

At just 14 years old, Caleb Prewitt became the youngest person with Down Syndrome to complete a sprint triathlon. He has now surpassed 30 triathlons since his first one four years ago and continues to inspire others to not only challenge themselves, but to challenge others as well.

Caleb has been a USA Triathlon Foundation Ambassador for three years and helps to grow the sport through his inspiring story.

Gabriel Cobb, a 22-year-old triathlete from St. Charles, Missouri, is breaking barriers, one race at a time.

Gabriel has completed more than 10 triathlons and wants to be an example of perseverance. A public speaker, Gabriel in 2023 shared his story of overcoming challenges and the role triathlon has played in his life at the United Nations in New York.

“I have down syndrome and I have no limitations,” Gabriel says.

Gabriel started swimming, running, and biking to help him stay in shape. In 2018, friends invited him to check out the HSTriClub, a USA Triathlon Club in St. Louis that assists high school kids in living a healthy lifestyle through swim, bike and run. A coach at HSTri Club saw Gabriel swimming at the YMCA and encouraged Gabriel to try his first triathlon.

“I like the swimming. I love meeting new people. My legs are shaking and I’m tired after finishing, but I love overcoming challenges,” Gabriel said.