‘They need opportunity’: Orlando man helps train Special Olympics athletes to meet their goals

ORLANDO, Fla. — Dan Grieb is a real estate agent in Orlando who works with special olympics athletes in his spare time.


Grieb was there alongside Chris Nikic when he became the first person with Down Syndrome to complete an Ironman Triathlon, and has made it his mission to make sure Nikic isn’t the last.

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Now, he’s working with runner Adrienne Bunn as she trains for the upcoming Disney Half-Marathon.

“Success is not about what you do, it’s about who you become in the process,” Grieb said during Bunn’s training. “Being an Ironman, or an endurance athlete requires that you become someone new, and I want to give that gift to someone else.”

Endurance: The fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way! #DGendurance training 2022!

Posted by Dan Grieb on Thursday, December 30, 2021

Grieb says Bunn shows signs that she’s capable of far more than what people tend to think is.

“She can endure more, she can run faster, and her goals…her life goals are really possible,” Grieb said.

Grieb’s own journey as a triathlete started six years ago when, Grieb says, he weighed more than 300 pounds.

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“I had been on all kinds of crazy diets. I had personal trainers, and I realized nothing had changed,” Grieb said. “I realized it wasn’t about the physical; it was about the mental. I needed to make a mental shift and start believing I could have it all.”

Since then, Grieb has traveled the world, completing 19 Ironman races, nearly 30 marathons, and multiple 100-mile bike races.

Grieb says he wants to pass along the same lessons he’s learned to the athletes he’s working with now.

“Some of those lessons are learned in failure,” Grieb said. “The reality is they don’t need protection, they need opportunity. The goal of Special Olympics is to give all athletes the ability to compete to the extent that their ability will allow them to.”

Grieb is also in training himself, preparing to run the Dopey Challenge.

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While it may have a silly name, the race is a brutal test of endurance that includes running the Disney 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and marathon- a total of 48.6 miles- over four days.

When he’s done, Grieb says he plans to continue his work helping others achieve their goals.

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Joe Kepner

Joe Kepner, WFTV.com

I unloaded the U-Haul in Orlando in 2008, just in time to cover the Magic's run to the 2009 NBA Finals.