The athletes of Special Olympics Florida continue to inspire the world.
the weekend, two of our athletes ran and completed the TCS New York
City Marathon. Chris Nikic finished the course in 7:12:20, and Samantha
Rodriguez completed it in 8:31:11.
Chris made history last year when he became the first person with Down syndrome to complete a full IRONMAN competition. Since then, he’s collected an armful of awards, including an ESPY and a Laureus sports award. In October, he ran the Boston Marathon. Chris has also found time to publish a book, 1% Better: Reaching My Full Potential and How You Can Too.
Samantha became the youngest woman with autism to finish the NYC
Marathon. Over the last few years, she’s become an accomplished
long-distance runner, training with her mom, Karina. Like Chris,
Samantha completed the Boston Marathon, running the race virtually. It’s
a remarkable achievement given that doctors once worried Samantha might
never walk properly.
Samantha’s mom, a talented runner in her own right, said Samantha has always been willing to push herself and try new things. Athletes like her, Karina said, can do incredible things, if they’re only given the opportunity. "Never give up on your child,” says Karina. “You don’t know what they can do, until you give them a chance."
Check out WPTV’s story on Samantha.