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Dr. Michaels gets the boot


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Host of ski contest admits rigging buoys

He says event not first time he cheated


[email protected]

Posted: Aug. 1, 2005

It wasn't an illusion when water-skiers from around the world reported that the distance between the buoys at a competition course in Waukesha County appeared to widen after the first skier finished his run.

World-record-holder Jim Michaels - whose private lake near Dousman was the site of the event - admitted Monday that he set up an underwater mechanical system to manipulate the course and give himself a competitive advantage in the 2005 Malibu Open Waterski Championships and Wakeboard Exhibitions in June.

And Michaels, through a public relations specialist, acknowledged that he had cheated other times in the past in setting national records in slalom events at his lake.

"My competitive zeal got the better of me and clouded my judgment," Michaels said in a prepared statement released by a public relations consultant. "I have no excuse for this and recognize that it was a mistake."

Michaels' statement followed a decision by the American Water Skiing Association on Monday to suspend Michaels, 48, from the sport for six years and strip him of his national records for what it dubbed "unsportsmanlike conduct."

"I've been with the organization since 1993; I have not experienced anything like this," said Steve McDermeit, executive director of the association.

McDermeit said the association's chief officials and dozens of pro skiers at the event noticed the distance between the buoys mysteriously grow about 2 feet minutes after Michaels finished his run.

A lesser distance allowed Michaels to ski around more buoys with a shorter rope - criteria for winning the competition.

The event, which drew about 2,500 spectators, was temporarily halted, and Michaels withdrew from the competition.

He sent a letter to association board members Friday admitting he rigged the course.

Stripped of records

Both McDermeit and Michaels' public relations consultant, Evan Zeppos, said the June event was not the first time Michaels, a dentist, had cheated.

Michaels held national slalom records in the Men 4 and Masters Men 55K divisions held on his private lake, Lake Lynn Louise, which he built several years ago specifically for water skiing.

"He no longer holds any record that I'm aware of," McDermeit said.

The American Water Skiing Association also recommended that its parent, USA Water Ski, suspend Michaels' membership from that group, forbidding him to participate in other sanctioned water-skiing events such as show skiing or exhibitions.

In his statement, Michaels apologized to his fellow water-skiers, his coaches and family, all of whom he said had no prior knowledge of his scheme.

"He feels very remorseful about the situation," Zeppos said. "He accepts full responsibility for his poor judgment. He feels very badly about it."

Neither McDermeit nor Zeppos would say how Michaels controlled the underwater cables attached to the buoys, whether he or someone else pressed a button in the boathouse or whether the system was on a remote timer.

Investigators found no evidence of other skiers' involvement.

Zeppos said Michaels was not after the prize money, which totaled $100,000 for men's and women's winners in three events.

"I think it was just his competitive desire to win," Zeppos said.

Zeppos said Michaels doesn't expect his dishonesty with the water-skiing world will affect his dental practice.

"There's a pretty clear divide between what happened with his skiing and his dental practice," Zeppos said. "In his mind, there is no correlation. It's a practice built on experience. He's an excellent dentist."

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From schnitz site


James Michaels today released the following statement regarding the June 24, 2005 Malibu Open Waterski Championships at Lake Lynn Louise in Wisconsin.

I would like to apologize to my fellow water skiers for the inappropriate conduct that gave me an advantage in the June 24, 2005, Malibu Open Waterski Championships. I will accept the sanctions that the American Water Skiing Association determines are appropriate.

My competitive zeal got the better of me and clouded my judgment. I have no excuse for this, and recognize that this was a mistake.

I have the utmost respect for the sport of competitive water skiing. I give due credit to the competitors in the field who prevailed in the competition. Even though I removed myself from the competition and did not gain anything from the competition, I acknowledge that my behavior was inappropriate and simply wrong. I take full responsibility for the situation. My family and coaches had absolutely no knowledge of or involvement in what occurred, and I apologize for having disappointed them so deeply.

I will work to rebuild a relationship of trust with the American Water Skiing Association and others in the water-skiing field. I hope that fellow water skiers will accept my apology and can forgive me for my lapse in judgment.

Dr. Jim Michaels

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Cheating in skiing - never thought I'd see that one. That must have been an elaborate system. Hard to believe he was truly solo rigging that thing up.

Makes you wonder about whether folks needed all the fillings and root canals they were getting from this loser.

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Makes you wonder about whether folks needed all the fillings and root canals they were getting from this loser.

He had to pay for the lake somehow Crazy.gif

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While I am not defending the guy, in any way, he is not a loser. He has a successful dentistry practice, a beautiful home, airplane racing championships and many other accolades.

He may be a cheat and have moral/ethical issues. He made bad choices and let his ego drive his thought process.

However, by looking at our PB Slalom poll, he is a better slalom skier than everyone on this board except skisix. The guy can run 32-35 off at 36mph on a real, surveyed course and it has been witnessed by many people. Slap on a slalom stick and run 32-35 off at 36mph and then tell me he is a loser.

I have no respect for what he did, but I am not going to bash the guy.

Guns.gif away

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What do you think the next six years will hold for him? Do you think he'll hang it up and go back to racing planes, or rededicate himself to clean skiing and try to come back?

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