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Chris Waddell

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5 out of 5

Paralympic Sit-Skier & Wheelchair Track Athlete

Chris Waddell

Speaker RatingSpeaker RatingSpeaker RatingSpeaker RatingSpeaker Rating
5 out of 5

Paralympic Sit-Skier & Wheelchair Track Athlete

Travels From Travels From:
Utah, UT, USA
Speaking Fee Speaking Fee:

Chris Waddell Biography

Chris Waddell, a Paralympic sit-skier and wheelchair track athlete, originally began his athletic career as a promising able-bodied skier while attending Middlebury College in Vermont. However, a skiing accident caused a significant change in his career trajectory, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

Despite the accident, Waddell found new ways to excel in athletics. As a sit-skier, he won medals in the 1992, 1994, 1998, and 2002 Winter Paralympics. His talents also extended to wheelchair track racing, where he represented the USA at the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Summer Paralympics. His performance at the Sydney Paralympic Games was particularly memorable, as he clinched a silver medal in the 200m T53 event. In 2004, he went on to set a T53 world record for the 200m distance.

The sports world took note of Waddell's accomplishments, and he was inducted into the National Disabled Ski Hall of Fame in 2006. This recognition was followed by another significant milestone in 2010, when he was inducted into the Paralympic Hall of Fame.

Waddell also made history in 2009 when he became the first paraplegic to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. This achievement earned him recognition as the 2010 Shining Star of Perseverance Honoree by the WillReturn Council of Assurant Employee Benefits, an honor given to those who overcome disabilities to succeed in the workplace and society.

Besides his athletic pursuits, Waddell is also an accomplished writer. In 2015, he released his first book, "Things I Want to Remember Not to Forget." This book was based on his Middlebury College Commencement Speech and earned him a spot on NPR's list of The Best Graduation Speeches, Ever. He has also written three children’s books, including "Is It Lonely to Be a Four-Leaf Clover." Through his writings, he emphasizes the tenet, “It's not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you.”

As the founder of One Revolution and Nametags, Waddell actively works to see the world positively. He presents to students throughout the world and mentors speaker athletes, always striving to challenge himself and to push the boundaries of what others perceive as achievable.

Chris Waddell Speaking Topics

  • Resilience

    My motto is “It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you,” which applies equally to living life in a wheelchair, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in a handcycle, winning a ski race, or anything else. Things are going to go wrong. Successful people are often just those who struggled a little longer and little better.

  • Flipping Limitations

    My mission is to turn perception of disability (yours, mine, ours) upside down so that we can realize our dreams and live fully. That means removing the reason(s) we can’t. And it means learning from each other. Adaptation is our greatest, most fulfilling, and most underutilized ability. We refuse to start. We refuse to take the risk. We refuse to become the change we want to be. We all love the underdog, but we don’t like to be the underdog. Can we embrace the role flip that perception of limitations?

  • Choose Healthy for Our Greatest Strength

    When I was in the hospital after my accident, I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t workout, I couldn’t affect anything other than how I looked at the situation. I call it realizing possible, which is staying in the moment and resisting the urge to panic or quit—essentially winning the moment with myself. My refrain became, how can I be healthy? My greatest trauma helped me tap into my greatest strength by giving myself the best environment to succeed. How can we make choosing healthy and realizing possible the foundation of our personal and professional lives?

  • Own Your Confidence

    As an athlete and fan of sports, I remember my heroes stating that success was 90-95% mental, but what did that mean? In my eyes, it meant that they were tough, but it also sounded like either you were, or you weren’t. Was confidence God-given? I don’t remember anyone talking about building confidence. If it was so important, why didn’t people talk about creating confidence? Let’s make it part of our daily objective to finish the day more confident than we started. Afterall, if it’s almost entirely responsible for our success, shouldn’t we find a way to grow it?

  • Embracing Change

    Change is the only guarantee, yet it often feels like failure because it takes us from our desired path success, which we imagine that we should be able to achieve and possess. But that’s a mirage. No matter who we are and how successful we've become, change will find us. Death, divorce, disease, bankruptcy or myriad other things have the ability to cut us to make us question what we've always believed. If we can recognize that change is part of the journey, we can remove the emotional distress to find the best strategy to deal with change.

Chris Waddell Videos

  • Paralympic Skier Chris Waddell: Overcoming Adversity | Connecting Point |
    Chris Waddell is a thirteen-time Paralympic medalist and the first paraplegic to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. He hopes his success in the...
  • Chris Waddell Discusses Resilience Pt. 2
    On October 17, 2014, Chris Waddell visited the Hilltop. He is the most decorated male monoskier in Paralympic history, winning 13 medals for skiing...
  • TEDxMiddlebury - Chris Waddell - Recovery
    Paralympic Hall of Famer. U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Famer. First paraplegic to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Founder of The One Revolution Foundation....

Chris Waddell Books

  • Things I Want to Remember Not to Forget
    Things I Want to Remember Not to Forget

Speaker Lists Featuring Chris Waddell

  • Extreme Sports Speakers

    Inspiring Extreme Sports Athletes

    Extreme sports offer athletes heart pumping thrills as they tackle obstacles and risks to push their own personal limits. Whether it's to achieve professional success, a personal hobby, or an experience to cross off of the...

  • Inspiring Paralympic Athletes

    Inspirational Paralympic Athletes

    From alpine skiers to swimmers and martial artists, these award-winning Paralympic athletes are some the best in the world. Whether they've furthered their careers as politicians, models, activists, and authors, or whether...

  • Leading Motivational Speakers with Disabilities

    Leading Motivational Speakers with Disabilities

    People living with disabilities represent 15% of the global population, yet there are still systemic misconceptions and barriers that continue to affect their mobility and visibility within their communities, sports, workplaces, and schools. The inspirational disability speakers in this list are passionate...

FAQs on booking Chris Waddell

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  • What topics does Chris Waddell speak about?

  • Where does Chris Waddell travel from?

    Chris Waddell generally travels from Utah, UT, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
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Chris Waddell is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as Resilience, Flipping Limitations, Choose Healthy for Our Greatest Strength , Own Your Confidence and Embracing Change. The estimated speaking fee range to book Chris Waddell for your event is $10,000 - $20,000. Chris Waddell generally travels from Utah, UT, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Jim Morris, Rudy Ruettiger, Coach Ken Carter, Jim Abbott and Heath Calhoun. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Chris Waddell for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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