News – Blind Water-Skier Sets World Record

If you’ve ever tried water-skiing, you know that it is more difficult than it seems.  The more seasoned skiers will tell you all you have to do is stand up and hold on, but you need to have great balance and be able to anticipate how a wave will move you.

Imagine then, water-skiing for miles–23.85 miles to be exact.  Blind water-skier Steve Thiele recently accomplished this feat and set the open sea water-skiing world record.

Steve hadn’t been on the water for more than 15 years, but when his employer asked him to come up with an interesting fundraiser to support charity groups Cancer Research UK and Ghana Outlook, he knew he’d have to come up with something more exciting than a simple sponsored walk.  So, not only did he grab his skis again, but he set out with a goal–to set the new world record.  The last time he competed was at the Disabled Waterski Olympics over a decade ago, but after a couple runs, he found it had all come back to him and he was ready to go.  

With the folks from Guinness World Records on hand, he went to start the challenge.  But before he could get going, they informed him of a very odd requirement–he had to wear a blindfold.  Having been blind from the age of eight when he fell from a tree and damaged his optic nerve, he laughed at their request and probably thought they were joking.  However, they were dead serious.  “Guinness World Records do not distinguish between able-bodied persons and disable persons,” Steve said.  “So they said that in order for me to break the existing world record, I had to wear the blindfold.”  He joked, “It didn’t make a difference to me.”

So, the blind man–extra blinded by the blindfold–finally began his challenge and shortly thereafter set the new world record.  When his run was over and the questions began to come at him, he remarked, “It must have been humorous watching a blind person wearing a blindfold.”

Regardless of what unnecessary requirements needed to be met, Steve’s record is an impressive one that required massive amount of balance, strength, and stamina and hopefully he raised a ton of money for the charities he supported. 


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