Former Olympian turns to water skiing

The Disabled Water Ski Nationals brings all kind of athletes to Paducah to compete. There are blind skiers, double amputee skiers, and even one former 2014 Sochi Olympian. While competing in long ski jumping, the New Hampshire native suffered an injury that changed his life.

“It was the equivalent of jumping from a 26 story building onto ground,” he said.

Nick Fairall use to fly through the air on two skis at a world class level until January 2015.

“I was at the Four Hills Tournament, which is like the Super Bowl of ski jumping,” Nick Fairall said. “I had  a great jump, a perfect jump, but there were some adverse snow conditions and when I landed my skis stuck just a little bit. My weight flew forward and I pile drived my spine and drove it straight into the ground. I ended up breaking my back.”

Fairall lost the use of his legs. After his injury, he decided to trade two skis in for one and instead of snow, he’s in the warm water.

“Six months after my injury I water skied for the first time,” he said. “Getting behind the boat, feeling the speed, just carving through the water was super nice.”

He’s now in Paducah for the Disabled Water Ski Nationals.

“Life tends to throw curve balls at you,” he said. “Water skiing has been an awesome fun thing for me to do with that and it’s given me that time to get in the water and get in the sun, put smiles on my faces and see smiles on everyone else’s faces.”

Once Fairall hit the water today, it was all smiles.

The event runs until Saturday at the Twin Oaks Lakes. The winners will be named on the final day.