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In Memoriam: Tory Baggiano, 1967-2019

Tory Baggiano, the first tricks skier to eclipse the 11,00-point barrier and a 2004 inductee into the USA Water Ski & Wake Sports Foundation’s Water Ski Hall of Fame, passed away on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. He was 52.

When Baggiano retired from water skiing in 1998 at age 31, he said he had accomplished everything he had set out to do as a water skier. “I told myself a long time ago that when I decided to hang it up, I’d do it while I was on top,” Baggiano told The Water Skier magazine for its March/April 1998 issue. “And I think I’m doing that.”

Baggiano was a former world champion tricks specialist whose professional water skiing career spanned more than two decades during the 1980s and 1990s. A three-time member of the U.S. Water Ski Team; a world tricks title; numerous national titles; two Masters’ victories; one U.S. Open title; and multiple pro tour victories highlighted Baggiano’s long list of accomplishments.

At the time of his retirement, Baggiano was ranked No. 4 on the International Water Ski Federation’s world rankings list. He had been ranked among the top five in each of the previous 12 years, and he was coming off a third-place finish at the 1997 Masters and fifth-place finish at the 1997 U.S. Open. “As I look back I’m proud of what I’ve done,” he said. “It has been a great career. And I know it wasn’t a deterioration of skills that brought me to this point. I retired at the top. I did not want to decline.”

Baggiano’s career peaked in 1990 when he became the world’s first tricks skier to eclipse the 11,000-point mark with a world-record performance of 11,030 points. 1990 saw Baggiano achieve the No. 1 ranking in Men’s tricks on the International Water Ski Federation world rankings list. It also was the year he won his first Masters title and the Pan American Championships’ title as a member of the U.S. Team. Later that year, Baggiano was honored as the United States Olympic Committee’s Water Ski Male Athlete of the Year. “That year really gave me the motivation to say, ‘Hey, I can stay at the top,’ and for the next five years, I was at the top,” he said

In 1993 Baggiano achieved the sport’s highest honor - a world title in Men’s tricks. Just two years later, he secured a silver medal at the 1995 Pan American Games. He continued to build on his professional resume until his retirement from competitive water skiing. “I had skied for 20 years, every day,” he said. “I was into water skiing as deep as you can be and I wanted to switch gears.”

Baggiano eventually focused his energy on modern artistry and I.T. consulting. 2004 marked Baggiano’s first year of eligibility for induction into the Water Ski Hall of Fame.
























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