Clearly if anyone was ever an inspiration, it would be Chris Waddell. In fact, the former member of the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team is still blazing trails, having recently become the first paraplegic to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Now the Park City resident is in Whistler and Vancouver reporting on the Winter Paralympic Games. What’s more, Waddell was also just inducted into the Paralympic Hall of Fame.
Here is the official press release written by Juliann Fritz:
One Revolution Founder Chris Waddell was inducted into the Paralympic Hall of Fame Sunday as the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games got underway.
“My goal always was to be the best in the world and you don’t really think of the milestones until the end,” said Waddell. “It’s nice to have that legitimacy and to be recognized for your career.”
Waddell was acknowledged for his athletic excellence, history of fair play and commitment to community service. He was inducted along with German biathlon and cross-country coach Rolf Hettich and Finnish cross-country skier Tanja Kariwas.
In April, he also will be inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame joining Andrea Mead- Lawrence, Phil Mahre, Picabo Street, Diana Golden, and many others who have shaped ski racing.
Waddell is the most decorated male skier in Paralympic history having won 12 medals at four Paralympic Winter Games including sweeping all four disciplines at the 1994 Lillehammer Games. He also is a three-time world champion with three additional Worlds medals and won 32 national titles.
He has been an adamant promoter of adaptive skiing as a Paralympic spokesperson for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, an Ambassador for the International Paralympic Committee, and as a Paralympicsport.tv commentator for both the 2008 Beijing Games and the ones this week in Vancouver.
Together with teammate Sarah Will, he founded a mono-ski camp in 1993. He has helped to coach many athletes who have gone on to make the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team and compete at Paralympic Games.
“It was a responsibility. Skiing wasn’t just about me but about others and introducing them to the sport in a cost effective way.”
Since retiring from Paralympic competition he founded The One Revolution Foundation (www.one-revolution.com), a nonprofit dedicated to changing the way people see the disabled community. In 2009, he garnered international headlines when he became the first paraplegic to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.
“One revolution means so many things to me. One revolution of the handcycle, one revolution to change the way people see the disabled and one revolution of the globe, which symbolizes steady, fundamental change.”
The Foundation currently is producing a documentary film about the climb and taking an educational program, “Nametags”, to schools across the country helping to teach children to see differences as potential genius and not a reason to doubt ability.
Growing up in Granby, Mass., Waddell ski raced at Berkshire East and throughout the region before becoming a promising young racer at Middlebury College. In 1988, at age 20, a skiing accident left Waddell paralyzed from the waist down. He was mono-skiing in less than a year and spent 11 successful years on the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team. He now lives in Park City, Utah.
Paralympic Hall of Fame election and induction ceremonies are held in conjunction with the Paralympic Games, and consequently take place only during those years in which the Paralympic Games are held. For more information visit www.paralympic.org.