Paralympic Skiing Gold Medalist Chris Waddell Shatters Handcycling World Record

Posted By: The Ski Channel on June 2, 2009 9:10 am

Everyone needs a hero, and former U.S. Disabled Ski Team member Chris Waddell is ready to step in for the taking. The most decorated male Paralympic skier in history has notched another superheroic feat on his belt: a little something called a World Record.

Waddell recently used a handcycle to propel himself over 103 miles of dirt on Utah’s popular White Rim trail. The extended ‘workout’ took a mere three days, whereas the previous record was six days.

“It’s a huge deal,” says Waddell.  “This means that I can do this on my own. That feasibly I could go on this type of a ride and keep up with able-bodied friends on mountain bikes.”  

“Never have I seen someone put their head down and dig so deep from within,” says Dave Penny, Waddell’s trainer. 

Long dirt rides are the norm these days for Waddell, who’s been training for his August Kilimanjaro climb. There, when he summits the 19,340-foot peak made famous by Hemingway, Waddell will become the first paraplegic to climb the tallest free-standing mountain, unassisted.

In reality, the Kilimanjaro climb is a small facet of Waddell’s new foundation, One Revolution. Waddell and his team will donate handcycles to disabled individuals in Tanzania, and speak at schools. 

“One Revolution means so many things to me,” says Waddell. “One revolution of the handcycle, one revolution to change the way people see the disabled community and one revolution of the globe, which symbolizes steady, fundamental change.” 


photo: Stoner