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pretty cool article about the state of skiing in 1980
edited August 2012
I wonder where the sport would be today if the attitude of the leaders had been different 30+ years ago?
Quoted from the article:
Economics are also a major concern in the LaPoints' primary sport. Kris has won more money and more titles than any slalomer in history, yet his official earnings over a 10-year career come to slightly more than $10,000. Bob, who won virtually everything there was to win last year, made $1,000 slaloming in 1979.
These are pretty skimpy rewards, even for a sport as small as water skiing. Trouble is, all the prestige events—namely the Masters, nationals and world championships—offer zilch in the way of prize money, and that's just how the American Water Ski Association, the sport's governing body, wants to keep things.
Partly because of that policy, the LaPoints have boycotted the Masters the past two years. "They charge admission and take in TV revenues, but the skiers get next to nothing," says Bob. "In 1967, Kris' first year there, he got $40 for hotel expenses and $150 for travel. In 1977 it was exactly the same."
"The AWSA is where it was 20 years ago—concerned only with promoting recreational and family skiing," adds Terry Snow of World Water Skiing magazine. "It has always fought pro skiing."
"These guys need our tournaments more than the tournaments need them," counters Bill Clifford, who has been executive director of the AWSA since 1958. "Our primary obligation is to a national membership not involved in cash-prize tournaments. We can't justify spending the time or the expense to put money in the pockets of a few."
Kelvin Kelm, Lakes of Katy, Katy Texas
that really caught my eye as well
I have about 10 bankers boxes of documents from the mid 50s thru the early 80s with tons of stuff from Bill Clifford and other AWSA board members. From reading most of the documents it looks like they did fight against pro skiing and failed to promote the sport as they should have. Sometimes it seems the sport grew to where it was in spite of the leadership. At the same time there were some board members that worked to build the pro levels as well.
Nice post... I've been to that pond in Los Banos.. too damn short. Funny how things have remained the same at awsa for ever. Some things never change.
Mark Turner -- Water skiing changed my life forever.
★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
Our primary obligation is to a national membership not involved in cash-prize tournaments. We can't justify spending the time or the expense to put money in the pockets of a few."
This is what defined AWSA for years. Personally, I don't have a problem with that philosophy. AWSA was not designed as the marketing arm of water skiing. It was (is) a governing body whose primary responsibility is the establishment of rules, development of officials and sanctioning of tournaments. Period. Today, the small $34k AWSA receives as a "stipend" from USAWS is completely consumed thru the funding of elite athletes. Seems we have moved 180 degrees from what our founding purpose was. Developing cash prize events is not and should not be the primary objective of AWSA (IMO). Leave that to individuals and groups that are better skilled in those endeavors.
It seems that in other sports disciplines, there are separate governing/promoting bodies for the professional levels vs. the local/amateur levels. That is probably because it is such a different set of goals, skills, and policies necessary to run these two very separate levels of any sport.
-- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
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