|How old were you when you first started to get interested in Waterskiing? |
I was 4 when my parents introduced me to water skiing. I started competing at the age of 5 and just fell in love with it.
2.When did it turn from just a hobby into something more serious?
Skiing was just something we did as a family. We had a family boat and several families would go out with us on the Pamlico River of Bath, NC. We would all take turns skiing. I just loved it. My dad would bribe me with toys when I would learn new tricks but I just had a passion for it myself. He always taught me to go out there and beat Kristi every time I took to the water, so I always had the passion to get better and to learn something from every session…even at the age of 5! By the age of 8-9 I was at a national level and my parents started sending me to ski school in Florida over the holidays to learn new things, hear new coaching, and to have some warmer climate to train in. I guess the major turn was in 1982 when my father built me my own lake to train in without the disturbance of other boaters, the stings of jelly fish, the choppiness of a large river. When you have a lake named after you….well, you just have to go out and ski everyday
photo In His Wakes
3. When and why did you decide to retire?
|Overton-Johnson has won nearly every Women’s slalom title imaginable, including the 1999 PanAmerican Games and Water Ski World Championships. She is a four-time U.S. Open champion and sixtime Masters’ champion. I spent 6 months on crutches, went through 8 blood transfusions, spent a great deal of time in a wheelchair last year and was taken care of by my family at every level. It was a humbling year for someone who likes to go and do for herself!|
Finally, the main reason for the retirement is that the passion is gone. God blessed me so much in this sport and with His help, I was able to achieve everything I set out to accomplish in this sport. It was an awesome 30 years of skimming across the waters of the world but about 3 years ago, God started taking that passion away from competitive skiing and started putting that passion into pouring my life into other people. He laid on my heart to start and run a ministry called In His Wakes. Basically, we use water skiing to impact people's lives in an amazing way. We introduce people to the sport that would NEVER have the opportunity to ride in a boat, swim in a lake, much less ski...and we spend the day with them teaching them to do these things and also sharing our life stories with them. I have never done anything more fulfilling in my life. TO see a child, not to mention an abused child, stand by the waters edge and tell me how frightened they are, only to see them skiing across the lake 30 minutes later is an amazing feeling. Those kids leave the lake with their lives changed because of their experience on the water and the message of hope we share with them. We put medals around their necks that are inscribed "Champions in God's eyes" and remind them God has a plan for their lives. We hear stories how these kids where their medals for months, even to school! And we see these children transformed before our very eyes. We so often take for granted, I know I did, the opportunities we are afforded. Sharing the experiences I have had on the water is where my passion is now and it is all I want to do.
|Why did you announce your retirement at the Masters?|
I started skiing at the Masters in 1983 and skied in my last one in 2002 with a win in women's slalom. The Masters is the most prestigious tournament in the world and I was blessed to win 2 trick titles (1985,85) and 6 slalom titles. There are so many memories there....read more
|5. What's the one thing you're most looking forward to in your skiing retirement?|
|6.What advice would you give to girls and women that would like to take up the sport?|