Kristi Overton Johnson
“A sole owner of a world record for 12 years”
Overton-Johnson won nearly every women’s slalom title imaginable, including the 1999 Pan American Games and Water Ski World Championships. She dominated professional water skiing since turning pro in 1983 when she competed in her first Masters Water Ski Tournament. She was a four-time U.S. Open champion and six-time Masters’ champion. Her final professional victory came at the 2002 Masters. “I’m pleased with how my career went,” Overton-Johnson said at the time of her retirement following the 2005 Masters. “I don’t have any regrets.”
Prior to her Masters’ debut, Overton-Johnson dominated the junior ranks, setting records that were still in existence two decades later. She won her first Masters’ tricks title in 1985 and climbed her way to the No. 1 ranking in the world in the tricks event before becoming a slalom specialist in 1989. Her greatest achievement was winning the 1999 women’s world slalom title. “The defining moment of my career was definitely winning the Worlds in 1999,” Overton-Johnson said upon her retirement. “[The world title] had eluded me for so long. I had just been through so many injuries. I realized how fortunate I was to be on top of that podium when it was over. I looked out and saw my dad and my husband and so many incredible faces. It was such a wonderful feeling.”
Overton-Johnson set a new women’s world slalom record of 4 buoys at 39-1/2 feet off in August 1996 and increased it to 1 buoy at 41 feet off in September 1996. She was the sole owner of the world record for the next 12 years until it was tied by Australia’s Karina Nowlan in 2008 and U.S. athlete Regina Jaquess in 2009, and eventually surpassed by Jaquess in 2010.