Chris Waddell – Athlete


Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Chris, here’s what you should know about him..

Chris Waddell was a promising young skier in 1988 when an accident on the slopes left him paralyzed from the waist down.  True to his determined and competitive nature, a year later he was skiing again on a monoski.  Two years later he was named to the U.S. Disabled Ski Team.  To date, he is the most decorated male skier in Paralympic history.

“Our approach is a universal approach,” says Chris.  “Our mantra is that it’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you.  And that’s really ultimately no different for you than it is for me – how do we find a way to change a little bit of direction and continue to move forward and succeed when maybe something’s gone wrong, ‘cause something’s going to go wrong for all of us.  That’s just the way it works.”

And while Chris may be prepared for things to go wrong, he continues to push himself, creating new and amazing experiences for himself that often turn out “right.”  In 2009 he became the first paraplegic to scale Mt. Kilimanjaro unassisted, and in 2010, he was inducted into the Paralympic Hall of Fame, and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.  And when asked, he says he wouldn’t change a thing.

“I wouldn’t trade who I am and the experiences that I’ve had for that uncertainty [of how life would’ve turned out without the accident],” he says.  “This is sort of the certainty of like, this is who I am and I’m pretty comfortable with who I am, and where I’m going, and have had some great experiences.”

Below is the video of Johnny interviewing Chris.

Download audio MP3 file (Right-click and choose “Save Target As…” or “Save File As…”)

Download interview Transcript (Right-click and choose “Save Target As…” or “Save File As…”)


  1. Many people with full body function never find this strength in their own voice. Chris shows us all that it’s not what you have but what you do with it. Thank you Chris.

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