U.S. athletes Tarah Benzel (Groveland, Fla.), Josh Rice (Canyon Lake, Texas) and Phillip Soven (Longwood, Fla.) won gold medals in their respective events at the seventh World Games, held July 20-24, in Duisburg, Germany. Thirteen athletes representing USA Water Ski participated in the multi-sport event that is held every four years and features sports not currently in the Olympics. Water-skiing, barefoot water-skiing, wakeboarding and cable wakeboarding all were featured as part of this year's events. The International Water Ski Federation selected athletes based on their world rankings and availability.
“The World Games is a prestigious event with top athletes competing from around the world,” said Steve McDermeit, USA Water Ski's executive director. “Congratulations to Tarah Benzel, Josh Rice and Phillip Soven for bringing home gold medals in their respective events.”
Benzel, whose mother Cyndi won the World Games' slalom title in 1981 in Berkeley, Calif., won the Women's water skiing overall gold medal, tallying 2,869.61 overall points. She edged New Zealand's Megan Ross for the top spot on the podium by a little more than 13 points. Canada's Jenna Mielzynski earned the bronze medal. Rice tallied 66.56 points to win the gold medal in Men's cable wakeboarding. Germany's Benjamin Suess and Great Britain's Nicholas Davies scored 66.45 points and 65.61 points to earn the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Soven's 88.23 points won the gold medal in Men's wakeboarding. Matt Lammers of South Africa earned the silver medal with 75.68 points, while Sweden's Mattias Koban earned the bronze medal.
Megan McNeil (Winter Park, Fla.) was the only other U.S. athlete to medal at the event, scoring 65.23 points for the silver medal in Women's wakeboarding. China's Li Li Chen won the gold medal with 69.90 points and Argentina's Robi Rendo earned the bronze medal with 61.00 points.
More than 3,500 athletes from 100 nations and 40 sports competed in this year's World Games. For complete results, visit www.worldgames2005.de.