Willa Worthington McGuire Cook
Willa's lifestyle took a radical change when she was forced to water ski for the first time on Lake Oswego, Oregon at the tender age of fourteen. One turn about the lake and she vowed a love for the sport that would endure a lifetime.
She won the first tournament she entered, which happened to be the U.S. Nationals. Willa had never seen a jump or slalom course until the day before this tournament, but managed to walk away with two firsts and a second.
Three years later, Dick Pope, Sr., sent her to the first world tournament in Juan Les Pins, France, where she won her first of three world overall titles.
Willa's forte was creativity, an ability that gave skiing its first back swan, backward jump, and 360 swivel turns.
She was a Prima Ballerina at Cypress Gardens for a decade and U.S. National Overall Champion eight times. Willa currently lends her creative talents to sculpting the American Water Ski Hall of Fame, as Chairperson of the Museum.
Water Skiing continues to be a daily activity for this dedicated skier, even though she retired from competition in 1959. Skimming over the water on one ski, under the tropic skies of Florida, will always be the best way to live for this champion of champions.