DON'T call Tony Christiansen disabled.
When he lost his legs as a nine-year-old in a terrible train accident in Tauranga he kicked back.
He chopped opponents as a black belt in taekwondo, revved up rivals as a speedway champ, raced away with gold medals in athletics, flew high piloting a plane, climbed to the top of the ladder in business, and made waves as a surf lifesaver.
The husband and dad-of-three is a runaway success. Now he's sharing his secrets as a top inspirational speaker.
His message is reaching people all over the world with the publication of his life story, Race You To The Top.
"Why should the world label me disabled when I've done more in my life than most people dream of - and I haven't finished yet," Tony says.
"I definitely have no time for 'what if' or 'why me' thoughts."
"Sure, my life would have been different if I hadn't had my accident. Who knows what I would have done. But look at what I"ve achieved," he says.
Tony, 42, still remembers the day in the railway yard when a train ran over both his legs, almost severing them.
"I would have died within minutes if the sharp steel wheels hadn't crushed the arteries in my legs so my blood couldn't pump away," he says.
Doctors were unable to save his damaged legs, and they were amputated.
He woke up in intensive care six days later, with his parents by his bed, and tried to scratch his foot.
"I knew something wasn't right, but having no legs wasn't what I expected."
Family and friends tried to cope with the aftermath of Tony's accident and Tauranga rallied round with offers of financial and emotional support.
Tony hated his artificial legs, which hindered his movements. He preferred to use his arms to get about.
He was like any other kid and climbed trees, got into scraps, annoyed teachers, kept up with fashion, dated girls and hung out with mates.
He was such a keen swimmer he even dug out his own pool.
Determined to tackle tougher challenges, Tony won gold medals in international disabled games all over the world, became a surf lifesaver, played basketball, and kayaked.
He learned signwriting and went into business.
Crazy about cars, Tony took up speedway and became a champ, then repeated that with Taekwondo.
At his inspirational talks Tony climbs scaffolding, leaving his audience gobsmacked. It was that feat that inspired Sunday News sub-editor Liz Dobson, 33, to get Tony's story into print as co-author.
"Tony is an inspirational person," Liz says. "I wanted to get his story down, just has he speaks, keeping his character there for readers."