Chris Waddell was a promising young skier at Middlebury College in 1988 when a skiing accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. Determined to get back on the slopes, he began skiing on a monoski roughly one year later. A little more than two years later, Waddell was named to the US Disabled Ski Team.He went on to become the most decorated male skier in Paralympic history, winning twelve medals over four games, and spending a total of 11 years on the US Disabled Ski Team.
He is one of a select few who has medaled in both summer and winter games. In the fall of 2009, Waddell became the first paraplegic to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro unassisted, and in 2010, he was inducted into both the Paralympic Hall of Fame and the US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. Waddell has been named the Dalai Lama’s unsung hero of compassion and has been featured in numerous publications, including Outside Magazine, Skiing, Ski, National Geographic Explorer, and People Magazine, who named him one of ‘The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.’ He has also appeared on Dateline and Oprah.
In addition to his work with the Paralympics and the International Paralympic Committee, Waddell has found success as a motivational speaker. Waddell speaks to the resilience of the human condition, with topics ranging from leadership to adversity to quality of life.
- Dalai Lama’s Unsung Hero of Compassion
- Thirteen Paralympic Medals
- World Champion in both winter and summer sports
- Most medals of any male monoskier in Paralympic history
- Doctor of Humane Letters, Middlebury College
- First Ambassador International Paralympic Committee
- Founder One Revolution Foundation
- First nearly unassisted paraplegic to summit Mt Kilimanjaro
- Paralympic Hall of Fame
- US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame
- People Magazine “50 Most Beautiful People”
- Skiing Magazine “25 Greatest Skiers in North America”
- NPR: The Best Graduation Speeches, Ever (Middlebury College ’11)