Paralympian gold medalist inspires local paralympian skier - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Paralympian gold medalist inspires local paralympian skier

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Wednesday was the ninth annual Siskin Possibilities Luncheon, the organizations largest fundraiser each year, to help provide care for those without adequate insurance.

This year's featured speaker was a promising skier, when an accident left him paralyzed. But, he didn't let that stop him, and now he's inspiring a local paralympic hopeful.

It's scary the similarities between Chris Waddell and Caleb Stallings our North Georgia teen training for the U.S. Paralympic Ski Team. The only difference is one has done it all, and one plans too.

"You know I wanna be where he is, or where he was if not more. It just shows the dedication you have to have," said Caleb.

Twelve medals over four Paralympic Games, both summer and winter. A member of both the Paralympic Hall of Fame and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. Chris Waddell set the bar high, and that's good because Caleb will never turn down a little motivation.

Waddell said, "some people have struggled so much in their lives, but also succeeded on such a high level. My question is why not me, why not us. Out of the most difficult times, often come the greatest successes."

Caleb can relate, he says at times during his training even he has to fight to stay focused.

"You lose focus no matter what you're doing at a point and time, but if you have that fire inside of you, if you really truly have that fire you're always going to get back on task," said Caleb.

Despite a setback at the empire state games where an injury kept Caleb from competing earlier this month, he remains true to course, "it still gets to me, I could have won those races and brought it home, but everything happens for a reason God doesn't make stupid decisions. I've been to New York now, I have more states to go see."

Caleb says he's more focused than ever before, he's dropped 50 pounds and added muscle per his coaches request. He's scheduled for a training camp in Idaho this weekend.

"If I could I would pack up all my stuff, move to Colorado right now so that I could train every single day, but I have things to do here," said Caleb.

For example, Caleb is enrolling in college this fall, he wants to study architecture and public speaking. Ironically the Hutton Company downtown who sponsors Caleb is a development construction group.

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