Skier of the Year
Twenty-eight-year-old three-event Belarusian water-ski dynamo NATALLIA BERDNIKAVA has irrefutably earned the title as the most dominant skier over the last year. She ended last season by setting two world trick records in October, and then started 2011 with a Moomba Masters trick title and finished second in jump. The high-level skiing continued with mostly first-place finishes in jump and trick at every major event. However, her proudest and most notable accomplishment took place in July at the World Water Ski Championships in Dubna, Russia, where she won four gold medals and led her team to their first world title. Berdnikava’s come a long way since her humble beginnings when she learned to ski in a pool at the age of 12. Maybe it was her early gymnastics training that allowed her to excel at a such a rapid rate. One thing’s for sure: she has all the tools to rule the water for years to come.