Why this grand prix racer is an inspiration

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Anthony Radetic lives for the thrill.

"Speed is amazing. Water or not," he said.

As a professional jet skier, his passion is now his job.

"I get on a boat. I go train and I love it," he continued.

It has been a year since he first climbed aboard a water scooter and started racing.  Before that, he had been healing.

Radetic served in the Army as a warrant officer and aviator.  Flying was his passion and lifelong goal.

In 2004, while riding his motorcycle to training, he had an accident.  A spinal cord injury left him without the use of his legs.

"It took me awhile, but anyone can do it. Just shift fire and go for your goal," he said.

As soon as he could, Radetic was back on a non-stop pace.  He competed in cycling, sailing, and took second place at the Chicago Marathon and back-to-back first-place medals at the Army Marathon.  But he wanted the thrill of speed.

"I thought a jet ski was the closest thing to a motorcycle where you can lean on it, take some turns, be independent," he explained.

Radetic found his peace and solace on the water.  The faster he goes, the less he focuses on his injuries.

"It frees me out there. I don't have the limitations of my injuries. I can definitely do what I like," he said.

He relies on his upper body strength to hold on.  His legs are velcroed to the watercraft; the rest is up to him.

He has become something he thought he never would be, an inspiration.

"If I inspire people along the way, I love it," he said.

Radetic hopes, if anything, people will follow his lead.

"If you can find some sort of escape and find some kind of peace in it, go do it," Radetic added.

Radetic will race in the Sarasota Power Boat Grand Prix this Fourth of July weekend.  The qualifying round will kick off Saturday morning around 10; the actual race will be held Sunday.