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2002

Jim Rusing

Jim Rusing

Awarded in 

Started his chosen career with a ski school in the state of Washington in the 1940s, striving toward a vision he had for the future of water skiing: a professional sport; a sport for the whole family; a sport for the adventurous; a sport for the "rich and famous"; and a sport for the Olympics. He landed his first water skiing job as director of shows at Cypress Gardens. Later he started his own water ski show operated in conjunction with Barnum and Bailey circus. He incorporated ideas from the circus into his water show, including a water skiing elephant. He opened another theme park at Gallaway Gardens but of course he wanted more and he started tournament skiing. After he broke the jump record in 1955, he decided water ski tournaments deserved more promotion and brought ABC's Wide World of Sports to cover water skiing nationwide. Rusing retired after seeing all his dreams come true (except for the Olympics).