Industry News

2017 Hall of Famers Brenda Nichols Baldwin and Rachel George Normand Achieve Water Ski Immortality

POLK CITY, Fla. – Water Ski sensations Brenda Nichols Baldwin and Rachel George Normand will be enshrined into the Water Ski Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017, it was announced today by the USA Water Ski Foundation Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

 “This is a truly magnificent class,” said USA Water Ski Foundation Executive Director Tracy Mattes. “These women have had an extraordinary impact on our sport and we are proud to recognize them with the highest honor the sport bestows – enshrinement into the Water Ski Hall of Fame.”

“I am beyond excited and honored,” said Baldwin.  “While all my involvement in the sport is because I love the sport and people, it is very special to be recognized at the highest level possible.”

Normand shared similar sentiments.  “When I received the call from Tracy saying I would be inducted into the Water Ski Hall of Fame I was overcome with a wave of emotions.  This amazing honor is a culmination of my love, dreams, and goals for the sport of barefoot water skiing.”

 Baldwin and Normand will take their rightful place among the water ski immortals at the 35th annual induction ceremony on April 29, 2017 at Walt Disney’s Showplace Pavilion at Epcot Theme Park.

For more than two decades, Brenda Baldwin’s achievements have included being a world renowned water skier, coach, and judge.  As an elite skier, Baldwin was the 1995 World Jump Champion and held the World Jump Record from 1997-2000.  In 1997 she swept titles in both 1997 US Masters and Moomba Masters in the jump event.  Baldwin, a three time US National Champion in the open women’s jump event, has represented the United States as a member of four World Teams and two Pan American Teams.  She was Pan Am Slalom and Jump champion in 1994 and successfully defended her jump title in 1996. Baldwin continued her success in the over 35 division winning the World Slalom and Jump events in 2008; the trick and jump events in 2012 and won the silver medal in slalom, jump, and overall in 2014.  Baldwin was a member of winning US 35+ World Championship and Pan Am Teams in 2008, 2012, and 2014. She also went on to win 18 US National Championship titles from 2007 to 2013, including a clean sweep in 2012.

Baldwin made a big impact on the sport off the water as well as a dedicated volunteer and coach. From 1995-2004 she was a member of the USA Water Ski and AWSA Board of Directors and served on multiple committees.  Since 2004, she has served as Honorary Director and a member of their International Activities Committee.  Brenda was a founding member of the Athlete Advisory Council of the IWWF and has served on the United States Olympic Committee’s Board of Directors and Sport Science & Technology Committee. A Pan Am Level 3 coach, Brenda has coached US Junior World Championship teams, Under 21 World Championship teams, and helped direct both National Junior Development and Southern Region Junior Development clinics.  Brenda is also a, judge, scorer, and trained driver.  Throughout her prominent water skiing career, Brenda has received several significant water skiing awards that include the 1996 USA Water Ski Female of the Year and the 2012 USA Water Ski Award of Merit.

Five-time world individual barefoot champion and four-time world team barefoot champion, Rachel George Normand is one the most decorated U.S. Women’s barefoot water ski athletes of all time. Growing up in Canton, Ohio, Normand began barefooting and water skiing in competitions in 1990 at age ten and joined the Sea World Water Ski Team in Aurora, OH in 1997.  She went on to win numerous national and international honors throughout her illustrious career.  Normand won eight National Barefoot Water Ski titles.  Winning her first US title in 1999 her success and dominance on the water culminated over the next seven years as she went on to be undefeated from 2001-2007.  She shares the honor of winning seven consecutive US titles with Hall of Fame Inductees Jennifer Calleri and Lori Powell-Drell.  At the 2004 World Barefoot Championships she won gold in slalom, tricks and jump.  In 2006 she won the overall world title and the successfully defended her world jump title.  In 2004, Normand won the prestigious IWSF Barefoot Skier of the Year award and the Banana George Blair Barefooter of the Year Award. That same year she became the only female barefoot athlete to win the USA Water Ski Female Athlete of the Year award.  In 2001, Normand was the World Games Silver Medalist in Slalom, Tricks, Jump, and Overall.  She has been the ABC Female Athlete of the Year three times, and was an Olympic Training Center participant for barefoot waterskiing in 1996.

Normand became a certified barefoot instructor in 2006 and remains a member of the World Barefoot Instructors Association. In 2005, she was the Coach/Manager of the silver medal winning Junior World Barefoot Water Ski Team. Normand continues to barefoot at her current home in South Carolina and is working to support the U.S. Barefoot Alumni Association and their mission of continuing to nurture and grow the sport of barefoot waterskiing throughout the nation.


About the Water Ski Hall of Fame

The purpose of the Water Ski Hall of Fame is to honor and perpetuate the names and accomplishments of skiers, pioneers and officials whose dedication and competitive achievements at national and international levels have brought lasting fame to the sport of water skiing. Four categories of membership have been approved by the USA Water Ski Foundation board of trustees: competitive water skiers, including participants in traditional water skiing, barefoot skiing, ski racing and any other nationally competitive individual discipline recognized by USA Water Ski and approved by the USA Water Ski Foundation board of trustees; water skiing pioneers; water skiing officials; and show skiing. For eligibility requirements and more information, visit the official website of the USA Water Ski Foundation: