Entered Her First Nationals in 1966
Followers of water ski competition were wondering back in the seventies who would come along among the women to take the place of the incomparable Liz Allen. Cindy Todd provided the answer in a hurry.
She won three Masters overall titles in succession, sandwiched in two world overall crowns and a Nationals Open Women Overall, establishing event records along the way.
It was a comeback of sorts for Cindy, the first of two in her unusual water skiing career. She had soared to the top, as Cindy Hutcherson, in Junior Girls' competition and then in the Girls' Division before turning her back temporarily on tournament skiing. She spent a summer with the Tommy Bartlett show in Wisconsin, and a few months with the Cypress Gardens show in Florida prior to a stint as a waitress and her marriage to Lester Todd in North Carolina.
With encouragement from husband Les, Cindy returned to competition in 1975, the year that Liz Allan decided to hang up her skis for good. Cindy's timing couldn't have been better. After only two weeks of practice, she just missed making the U.S. Team and then captured the Open Women's slalom title at the Nationals later in the summer.
The realization of just how good she could become dawned on Cindy early in 1976 when she won the overall championship at the Group I (Pam American) tournament in Mexico City. Later in '76, she scored overall triumphs in the Masters and Nationals, and she was off on a victory string that continued until motherhood slowed her down in 1980.
Born in Akron, Ohio, on April 27, 1956, Cindy moved with her parents, Bob and Sandy Hutcherson, to Miami when she was a year old. The Hutcherson's soon became interested in the Greater Miami Water Ski Club, and Cindy learned to ski at the age of four. As she was preparing for competition, tricking was her big thing, along with slalom, until she learned to jump at the age of 10.
She entered her first Nationals in 1966 and finished fourth in tricks among the Junior Girls. (Incidentally, she and her father won the Mixed Doubles title in the last Nationals to feature the mixed event.)
After finishing second overall the next two years, Cindy swept all three events in Junior Girls' competition in 1969, and repeated this feat in her final year in the Girls' Division in 1973.
After her first break in tournament skiing and her comeback in the '76 Masters and Nationals, Cindy won the slalom and overall titles in the '77 World Championships in Milan, Italy, a feat she still considers her greatest th5rill in all her tournament victories.
Cindy successfully defended her World overall title in 1979, adding a jumping gold medal to her collection this time. Meanwhile, the records were piling up, especially in slalom, which at this point had become her best event.
Among her world records were two buoys on a 12-meter line at the '75 Nationals, then two and a half at 12 meters in the '77 Masters. Followed by three at 12 later that summer, and four in the Group I Championships.
The Todd's son Benjamin was born in 1980, marking the second major interruption in her tournament skiing career, but Cindy came right back 1981 with a national slalom record of one and a half buoys on an 11.25 meter line and topped that with two full buoys for another world record the following year.
Cindy's jumping was also moving into the record book but with less frequency, the highlight being her 145-foot world record leap in England in 1982.
Tournament skiing for Cindy and Les was always a family affair. Les continues to be a world-class boat driver to whom Cindy gives much credit for her success. But major credit, Cindy says, she gives to the Lord. A strong religious faith has been her mainstay and to it, water skiing has been secondary.
There were two other little Todd's as this was written in 1993, Tenille, 8, and Joy, 7. The Todd's are content on their fern farm near Pierson, Fla., where Les also does some property management in citrus and cattle.