When you meet Anthony Radetic at a race, you would never guess that he uses a wheelchair to get around. An avid Personal Watercraft Racer, Radetic will use his Sea-Doo to support him, often staying in the saddle when in the water. But his chair doesn’t often come out of his trailer, much less onto the beach. That is something he intentionally portrays, not out of any sort of dislike for the disabled, but for an appreciation of reality. As far as Anthony Radetic is concerned, life’s rules didn’t change after he got injured. So his drive to succeed had to.
Radetic’s background as an operator is a wild trip. Despite his desperate desire to go to Eastern Europe to utilize his skill as the only fluent Czecho-Slovak speaker in his class, Anthony found himself going to Latin and South America as a member of the Army’s Special Forces 7th Group. He loved his role there, but looked towards another goal: flying. He jumped from enlisted to Warrant Officer, then began flight school at Fort Rucker, AL. It was stationed at Rucker that Anthony sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident that left him in a condition most people would use as an excuse. Anthony did the opposite.
Once out of the hospital, Anthony began the search for sports not only to keep him in shape but also to help him recover a sense of competition and adrenaline he now lacked after leaving the Army. He tried his hand at several sports, from handcycling to monoskiing, but none stuck enough to keep him around. He competed with the US Development Ski Team, focusing on adaptive skiing and moved to Aspen to train with them full time. However, having a family as he did, such a lifestyle wasn’t sustainable. His search continued.
Radetic’s wife suggested Personal Watercraft (PWC) Racing, seeing it as one of the closest, if not the closest, he would ever get to riding a motorcycle again. He immediately bit in, knowing that this was the one that would work. When his doctor unsurprisingly told him he should do nothing of the sort, he took it as a challenge and bought a PWC from Craigslist. Not only did it include the adrenaline and danger of speed and competition, but it was also based on water, the great equalizer. No one he rode alongside knew he was disabled. And even better, none of his competitors really cared.
That no one would care that Anthony is paralyzed may sound callous, but it’s exactly what he was seeking. He didn’t want to be viewed as different or lesser than any other athlete, the way he might as an adaptive skier.
“Best skier in the world? Yeah, but it’s adaptive skiing.”
While not a direct quote, Radeitc sought a sport where no one could harbor this sentiment, where he could play the game on equal ground as the best on Earth, abled or otherwise. For SeaDoo, Anthony Radetic races in league with everyone else, his injuries don’t separate him from the highest levels of competition. He’s simply just another competitor, looking for that certain edge, and always just a little more speed.