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Richard D. Pope Sr.
Dick Pope was almost certainly the greatest promoter that the sport of water skiing has ever known, and few have made greater contributions to tournament skiing. A pioneer water skier and a founder of Cypress Gardens, Dick used his famous Florida attraction to create movies, television shows, magazine features, and newspaper articles which promoted the beauty and fun of water skiing all over the world.
But Dick's contribution to the sport was more than pretty girls and daredevil water skiers. He sponsored the second World Water Ski Championships in 1950 and helped to form at that time the World Water Ski Federation as a rival organization to the International Water Ski Union, whose foundation in 1946 we celebrate tonight. He was equally involved in the negotiations which brought the two organizations together again in 1955 as the World Water Ski Union. He sponsored another World Championship at Cypress Gardens in 1957, as well as the All- American and Dixie tournaments which set the standard in water skiing for decades. Several of the members of our Hall of Fame owe their skiing careers to the support and experience gained as members of the Cypress Gardens water ski team, including Willa Worthington McGuire, Alfredo Mendoza and Marina Doria.
I am pleased to announce the induction into the International Hall of Fame of a pioneer and a prodigious promotor of the sport of water skiing: Richard Downing Pope, Sr.