Cornelius, N.C. - Elijah Hager loves the water, loves the waves and loves to ski. Eli uses his nights on Lake Norman to reflect on life and everything he's been through. "When I'm out on the water, it's just me and who's ever driving the boat."
Hager is one of three area athletes heading to the World Water Ski Championships in Italy later this summer. He's become an accomplished skier, in spite of a genetic defect that led to a double amputation of his legs when he was only nine months old. His dad Eric says Elijah's always been determined to live a normal life just like his brothers. "We didn't allow him to say no, we didn't allow him to say dad I can't or mom I can't."
Eli approaches everything he does with a postive attitude. "Just because you have something wrong with you doesn't mean that your life is over or you can't do it." Mom Bonny beams with pride when talking about her son, "If he wins a medal, Eli will never be able to tell us that he can't do anything, you know, beat this."
The Lincoln Charter school student is also an avid golfer and an honor roll student. His specialties on the ski include 360 spins, 180 spins, double wake fronts and backs, as well as slalom skiiing. The World Disabled Water Ski Championships take place August 28th through September 2nd in Milan, Italy.