My biggest worry after breaking my back in '88, in a freak ski accident, was that I would lose a life in which I could do whatever I wanted. Lying in the hospital bed, I realized my legs were paralyzed, but I was thinking, I'm going to ski-race by the end of the year. Some people might say that was classic denial. I say it was classic maintaining your dreams. I entered a race only two weeks after learning how to mono-ski. I was absolutely petrified, but it was really fun. Then I started looking at the course like a racer and realized, Wow, I'm back. Now I'm not as captivated by competition anymore, by podiums, but I still want to challenge myself. If they're easy challenges, they're not memorable, so you push yourself. It's about living life to the fullest.
Waddell, 40, is the most decorated male skier in Paralympic history. This spring, he plans to climb Kilimanjaro.