Crowds flocked out in droves to watch the 2024 Latin American Waterski Championships

Easter Spectacle: Crowds Flock to the Latin American Water Ski Championships

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Easter spectacle: Crowds flock to the Latin American Water Ski Championships

Crowds flocked out in droves to watch the 2024 Latin American Waterski Championships

The Easter Bunny even made an appearance to entertain the crowd over the weekend (image: @ahumada_esqui_nautico)

By Jack Burden


The picturesque city of Villa Dolores in Córdoba, Argentina, recently played host to the 40th annual Latin American Water Ski Championships. Over 100 athletes from seven different countries across North and South America gathered for a weekend of thrilling competition, spanning various age divisions from under 10 to over 75.

What set this year’s championships apart was the presence of a lively crowd, a rarity at water ski tournaments in recent years. Along the banks of Ahumada Esqui Nautico, spectators gathered to witness the action, creating an almost festival-like atmosphere. From nearby Villa Dolores and beyond, people flocked to the event, drawn not only by the on-water competition but also by the array of off-water attractions, including exhibitions, night skiing, live music, and traditional Argentinian Asado (BBQ).

The crowds were no accident; the tournament organizers put an incredible amount of work into promoting the event on both traditional and social media. They held press conferences alongside city leaders to promote the event to locals. Two prominent TV personalities were onsite promoting the event on social media with high-production value videos. When presented well, even a junior riding over the ramp can be immensely exciting; those of us embedded in the sport tend to forget how extreme much of water skiing is.

On the water, the competition was intense. Latin America has emerged as a powerhouse in elite, particularly junior, water skiing in recent years. The field included multiple junior and Under-21 world champions, such as Tobias Giorgis and Martin Labra. But much of the weekend’s action was not at the elite level; the field was mainly filled with grassroots junior and senior competitors, the kind you’d see at most any tournament across the world. Events like this prove that competition can be exciting and engaging for a wide audience at any level.

Our sport has slowly transitioned from the public to the private sphere over the past 50 years, with almost all high-level skiing now happening on private man-made lakes. This trend, probably unavoidable as the keenest skiers sought better and better training conditions, does not have to mean that all skiing happens behind closed doors.

This year’s Latin American Championships is a great example; Ahumada Esqui Nautico is a private man-made lake, but the organizers put in a huge effort to invite outsiders to the site, providing facilities and off-water attractions, sometimes as simple as adequate shade, to support spectators. All of this takes work, but the rewards are immense.

As the weekend came to a close, it was the host country, Argentina, that emerged victorious in the team competition, marking a triumphant return to the winner’s circle after over a decade. However, the true winner was water skiing itself. After all, if a tournament happens on a lake but nobody is there to see it, did it really happen?

Whitney Mcclintock Rini of Canada competes in waterski women's open tricks final at the Lima Pan American Games

Quiz: Most Pan Am Games Titles of All Time

Quizzes

Quiz: Most Pan Am Games titles of all time

Whitney Mcclintock Rini of Canada competes in waterski women's open tricks final at the Lima Pan American Games

Image: Vincent Ethier

By RTB


3 minute play

In this quiz, you have to name the skiers, male or female, with the most Pan American Games titles of all time.

Water skiing has been included in the Pan American Games every year since 1995 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Only eight skiers have managed to win more than one gold medal in the event that is held every four years. We have mentioned the years of their first and last gold medals, along with their country, and number of titles.

Whitney McClintock is off to her 5th Pan Am Games.

McClintock Living Her Dream on and off the Water Ahead of Pan Am Games | Cambridge Today

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Cambridge’s McClintock living her dream on and off the water ahead of Pan Am Games

 Whitney McClintock is off to her 5th Pan Am Games.

Whitney McClintock is off to her 5th Pan Am Games.

By Matt Betts

Cambridge Today


Life is all about perspective for Cambridge water skier Whitney McClintock as she gets ready to embark on her 5th Pan Am Games.

A fierce competitor out on the water, it was three years ago she found her true purpose when she gave birth to her son Zane.

“I love water skiing,” McClintock said.

“But I always wanted to be a wife and mommy.”

Now, with Zane in tow, she’s ready to board a flight to Santiago, Chile to compete for her country again.

Full article at Cambridge Today.

Chile's Sports Minister Jaime Pizarro played an active part in promoting the water skiing preparations of the national team ahead of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games

Chile Sports Minister Turns Water Skier in Support of Preparations for Santiago 2023 | Inside The Games

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Chile Sports Minister turns water skier in support of preparations for Santiago 2023

Chile's Sports Minister Jaime Pizarro played an active part in promoting the water skiing preparations of the national team ahead of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games

Chile’s Sports Minister Jaime Pizarro played an active part in promoting the water skiing preparations of the national team ahead of the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.

By Mike Rowbottom

Inside the Games


Chile’s Sports Minister Jaime Pizarro took an active part as he visited Laguna Los Morros in San Bernardo, training alongside the country’s water skiing team as they prepare for this year’s Pan American Games in Santiago.

During the visit the 59-year-old Pizzaro, a former footballer played 53 times for the Chile national team as a midfielder, participated in a water skiing practical class given by Felipe Miranda, the overall 2015 Pan American champion and 2013 and 2017 world champion.

“We’re in the vespers of amazing Games and you’ve been part of worldwide tournaments, Pan American and South American ones; so you do know the importance of participating as Chilean representatives in those events,” Pizzaro said.

“This is a wonderful discipline that has achieved a lot of medals for our country.”

Full article at Inside the Games.