At the first IWSF World Cup Stop in Melbourne, Australia, Max Kirwan, President of the Asian-Australiasian Region of the IWSF, presented the IWSF Sportsmanship Award to Bruce Neville.
Bruce Neville, 1991 and 1995 World Jump Champion and current World Record holder
The International Water Ski Federation announces its presentation of the IWSF Sportsmanship Award to Bruce Neville.
Bruce has always distinguished himself by his love of the sport and his dedication to its advancement as well as his competitive spirit and strong sense of fair play and sportsmanship. This award is to commemorate a specific, exemplary example of Bruce's sportsmanship.
On September 19th, 1997, during the preliminary round of the Men's jump event at the 1997 World Championships in Medellin Colombia, Bruce was readying himself to take his turn to attempt to qualify for the finals. As one of the event favorites, Bruce had every expectation of competing for one of the top positions. The skier immediately before Bruce, Freddy Kruger USA was on the water competing. Freddy, in his attempt to qualify, took a huge crash and when he checked his equipment, he found that his ski was broken. The boat immediately took him to the dock for possible repairs. The ski could not be repaired and it seemed that Freddy's allotted time would expire and he would lose his chance to qualify. Bruce Neville was among the skiers on the dock. Bruce stepped forward and selflessly offered the use of his skis to Freddy. Freddy took Bruce's skis and proceeded to qualify for the finals. He skied back into the dock and returned the skis to Bruce who had to very quickly put them on and immediately take his turn. Bruce also qualified for the finals. Without worrying about any possible negative effect on his own performance, Bruce risked his own place to let a fellow competitor have a chance to do his best rather than being forced out by broken equipment.
Eventually, in the finals, Freddy jumped further than Bruce. However, the sportsmanship of letting another competitor use his equipment without concern for his own performance not only made Bruce a winner, but enhanced the sport of water skiing by showing that water skiing has a true world class sportsman in our midst.
Thank you Bruce on the behalf of the International Water Ski Federation and water ski competitors around the globe.
IWSF Sportsmanship Award
Presented to Bruce Neville
"A friend of water skiing, a leader, a sportsman"