13Sep08 Saturday Finals at Senior World Trophy Produces Unexpected Results in Spain And Some Inspiring Performances

It is unlikely that any other Waterski event incorporates as many prize categories or covers such a wide age range as the Senior Waterski World Trophy. Today there were 14 prize categories and the ages ranged from 35 to 68. Today we also added to this some very unexpected results. Here are some examples to ponder!

In the Senior 2 Tricks event, six athletes eventually made it through to the Finals. Third off the dock was Odd Bradhe of Sweden and his score of 3810 looked like a possible medal winner but not a certainty. Next came Franz Oberleitner (AUT), but he fell on his first trick and Bradhe looked a bit more confident. Next came Andy Mapple (GBR) and as he is not a Tricker, Bradhe must have thought of a Silver Medal as a possibility. Mapple however pulled off a stylish Toe 540 to the Front and earned 350 points on that one ! His total score of 4980 points got a bigger round of applause than for many of his outstanding Slalom scores. Mike Morgan (USA) was last on the water and a Gold Medal certainty in many eyes. As fate would have it, he also had unusual trouble on his opening pass and had to settle for 4550 points. When Andy Mapple realized that he had just won the Senior 2 World Trophy Tricks title, he looked as surprised as the cheering spectators.

Senior 1 Mens Slalom also had its surprises. The ten Finalists all scored on the 12m line / 35 off or better. Alexander Mistriukov (RUS) was first off the dock and scored a very impressive 2 buoys on the 10.75m line / 39 off, almost before sunrise in the chilly air. Marc Shaw (USA) came later and nearly got there with just one buoy less. Last out was Jeremy Newby-Ricci (GBR). He was forced to more or less retire though a painful back injury last year. He has discovered that in fact the pain seems to subside while he is skiing ! Today he impressed all with a superb score of 0.5 buoys on the extra short 10.25m line / 41 off. This was a Gold Medal performance.

In Senior 3 Ladies Jump, two entrants made it to the final. At 56 years of age, Leza Harrison (USA) is an exceptional athlete. Her winning jump distance of 27.5m / 90ft is better than many male Club performances in most countries. Her jumping style is also safer than most!

In Senior 1 Ladies Jump, all were thrilled to see Brenda Baldwin (USA) on the water. She was the first in the World to exceed 50.0m and set a World Jump Record in doing so over 10 years ago. Now a busy mother and school teacher, nobody really knew what to expect. Olga Kashitsina (RUS) already had a score of 40.5m on the board before Brenda arrived. On her second jump, Brenda landed an impressive 40.8m to take the Gold Medal. Another welcome surprise.

Now we travel to the Republic of Georgia in Europe. Genadi Guralia is the sole representative from his country on the international circuit. Today he made it to the Senior 1 Mens Trick Finals and had a major challenge on his hands in taking on Forest Fisher and Marc Shaw of USA. Not only did he rise to the occasion but also captured a new personal best score of 9000 points and the Gold medal.

Finally, we must mention Cristina Medem Botas (ESP). Still recovering from major shoulder surgery, she made it to the Senior 2 Ladies Slalom Final. The hot favourite Marie Blanch Tapiero (FRA) already had a score of 3.5 buoys on the 13m line / 32 off before Cristina?s turn arrived. Somehow she managed to summon up enough strength to score 4 buoys on the same line and take the Gold Medal. It is doubtful if this was the recuperation process recommended by her hospital!

With all the prizes presented this evening for the 2008 World Senior Trophy, the party atmosphere at the Sesena lakeside set a perfect scene for the EAME Seniors Finals on Sunday.