The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

November 10, 2012

Kuykendall claims water ski silver

Todd Kuykendall didn’t know what his future would be in water skiing after broke a bone in his foot and tore some ligaments during a competition in Michigan in August 2011.

“It was really hard,’’ Kuykendall said. “I had a little bit of anxiety at my first practice back. I didn’t know if I would be able to ski at the same level that I was used to skiing at.’’

Kuykendall would come back to ski at even at a higher level. He won the silver medal at the recent Senior 2 (45-54) Slalom World Water Ski Championships in Chapala, Mexico.

“It’s an incredible feeling,’’ he said. “Meeting the people was an incredible experience. When all the people (from 20 nations) were parading out in the opening ceremonies, it felt like an Olympic-type event on a small scale. The emotion of the moment was almost overwhelming.’’

Kuykendall, a two-time national champion in his division, qualified for the competition by being ranked No. 9 in the world standings. He was eligible for the competition two years ago, but did not compete, because he was coaching football at Oklahoma Bible Academy.

He was second to Andy Mapple, who has been called the “Michael Jordan of water skiing.’’ Kuykendall, who started skiing at 25, had long admired Mopler when Mopler was skiing on the pro tour.

‘It was especially thrilling to be on the same podium with him,’’ Kuykendall said.  “It’s been a thrill competing against guys that I watched on ESPN.’’

Kuykendall goes from anywhere to 15 to 18 tournaments both nationally and internationally.

“I love to compete, I love to travel and I love meeting the people,’’ Kuykendall said. “As a Christian, I view it as I’m a missionary that goes around and gets to share my faith in Christ. That motivates me more than getting the medals.’’

The sport is a family affair. Kuykendall’s son, Chris; brother Greg and nephew Kyle are all involved with the sport. They train on Spring Valley Ski Ranch just outside of Enid.

“I really enjoy skiing with my family,’’ Kuykendall said. “It’s a great family sport. I’m a lot smarter skiier now.’’

The tendon is still giving him some problem. He said he might have surgery.

“That might help with my down time,’’ he said. “I’m not the best at sitting. I still love to train. I need to be working on some stuff. Some people might not think of water skiing as a lifetime sport, but there were some 60-year-olds out there.’’

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