Introducing Chris Waddell.
Meet One of Park City’s Most Extraordinary Residents, Chris Waddell
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Meet one of Park City’s most extraordinary residents, is a living testament to the fact that the best way to discover what lies within us is to dream big, take huge risks, and never stop pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Because, as he continually demonstrates, it’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you that matters.
When Chris was involved in a skiing accident at age 20 which resulted in both legs being paralyzed, he didn’t shut down or give up on his dream of becoming a successful ski racer. He refocused
and went full steam ahead on mono skis. Chris was chosen for the U.S. Disabled Ski Team and from there he took Paralympic sport by storm, shattering records to become the most decorated American male Paralympic Skier in history, winning thirteen medals over four Paralympic Games.
That’s just for starters. Chris is also a tireless advocate for adaptive sports, holds a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Middlebury College, was distinguished as an “Unsung Hero of Compassion” by the Dalai Lama, and was named one of Skiing Magazine’s “25 Greatest Skiers in North America.”
In 2009, Waddell ascended and summited Mt. Kilimanjaro almost entirely unassisted on a customized, three-wheeled, 27-speed, hand cycle. It took six and a half days for him, his eight team members and 61 African porters and guides to reach the top. It was a stunning feat that proved once and for all that being disabled, “means almost nothing if you have the will, the courage, the desire, and the support of great people.”
These days, Waddell’s dream is to create communities that allow all of us to live fully. You do that, he says, “by taking risks where you might not succeed at first. Things are never going to
go perfectly in life. What’s important is how you recover once mistakes are made.”
That’s the message Chris takes with him as he travels the country with his Nametags educational program. By telling his story, he’s inspiring—and encouraging—people to look beyond assumptions we all make based on labels we put on ourselves and others. If we drop the labels, give each other some breathing space to be who we are, and not judge each other by our failures, then we’ll all get the chance to become who we are capable of being. And as Chris Waddell has shown time and time again: we are all capable of amazing things.
Chris’ extraordinary ascent up Mt. Kilimanjaro is chronicled in the stunning, award-winning documentary, 1 Revolution, available for download on iTunes. Check out one-revolution.org for more information.