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Paraplegic Chris Waddell Climbs Mount Kilimanjaro

  • Published: 2009-10-03 (Revised/Updated 2016-12-30) : Author: Disabled World : Contact: Disabled World
  • Synopsis: Paraplegic Chris Waddell became the first paraplegic to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

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"By getting to the tallest mountain out there, they have to look at me a bit differently..."

Former Paralympian Chris Waddell became the first paraplegic to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa's highest mountain, on his own power.

At 19,340 feet, Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain peak in Africa.

With a highly trained team, which comprised of his doctor, trainer, guides, a camera crew and others who have helped him with his cause, he accomplished his goals.

By using his arms, he wheeled himself up the steep and rocky terrain in a special four-wheeled cycle called a Bomba, a highly engineered four wheel mountain bike. The vehicle is driven entirely by Waddell's arms and is capable of taking on foot-high boulders.

Paralyzed at 20 in a freak ski accident, Waddell, an American, went on to become the most decorated Paralympic skier ever.

In a January interview Waddell told Ski Racing the effort to climb Africa's highest peak was designed to "break down barriers and promote his mission to dispel stereotypes about people with disabilities."

Waddell's victorious and historic accomplishment was the culmination of years of planning and hard work.

"I was an athlete for a long time - as a Paralympic athlete, I competed in almost complete obscurity," Waddell told CBS News. "By getting to the tallest mountain out there, they have to look at me a bit differently," he added.

Waddell's competitive accomplishments include 12 Winter Paralympic medals, nine World Championship medals and a Summer Paralympic sliver medal won at the Sydney, Australia Games. Waddell retired from the World Cup in 2002.

Mr. Waddell is hoping the feat will encourage other disabled people to stretch their own limits.

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