Athans, George, Jr

George Athans, Jr, water-skier (b at Kelowna, BC 6 July 1952). Athans began competitive waterskiing at age 12, and at 15 won his first Canadian slalom title. Before his career was ended in 1975 by a knee injury, he was 10 times Canadian champion 1965-74 and set 5 Canadian records. He won the world overall title at Banolas, Spain, in 1971 and again in 1973 at Bogotá, Colombia. In 1973 he became the first non-US skier to win the coveted US Masters title. He has been Canadian amateur, BC and Québec athlete of the year and in 1974 he was awarded the Order of Canada.

After retiring, Athans became an avid promoter of his sport, which lacked wide-spread attention. Through his sports commentary for CBC-TV he realized that television could provide the exposure that waterskiing and other lesser-known sports were in need of. He began producing small shows that attracted enough of an audience to allow him to expand. Athans Communications was created and he began producing weekly shows about a number of watersports. These proved highly successful with the emergence of a national all-sports network, TSN, and have significantly raised the profile of waterskiing and other watersports.