Amateur places second in water ski championships

<p>Cody Siolka of Shawano placed second in the freestyle jump competition at the Malibu Open water skiing championships in Milwaukee last week.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was one of the few amateurs there and it was exciting to be able to compete with professionals,&rdquo; Siolka said. &ldquo;It was actually international &mdash; there were people from Australia, Canada and Europe.&rdquo;</p> <p>The Malibu Open was held Friday and Saturday at Veteran&rsquo;s Park in Milwaukee. As a stop on the professional water ski tour, the competition included the world&rsquo;s top professional athletes competing for $65,000 in prize money.</p> <p>&ldquo;Taking second in my first ever &lsquo;pro tournament&rsquo; was beyond fulfilling,&rdquo; Siolka said. &ldquo;I went there with the intention of just being among the greatest skiers in the nation and ended up making a name for myself among the top-dogs of the sport and placing very well.&rdquo;</p> <p>Siolka, 21, has been skiing almost his entire life. He has been a member of the Shawano Ski Sharks water ski team since he was 8 and doing freestyle jumps since he was 13.</p> <p>&ldquo;Cody is our best freestyle jumper,&rdquo;said Mike Mayak, president of the Shawano Ski Sharks. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s terrific to have him do so well in competition. We&rsquo;re proud of him.&rdquo;</p> <p>Siolka&rsquo;s father, Mick, who is also a member of the Ski Sharks, said the family was always skiing during the summertime.</p> <p>&ldquo;The first time he ever got on a pair of skis, one ski fell off, and he ended up skiing for a couple miles on just one ski,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;As a family we grew up on the water with the Shawano Ski Sharks. It&rsquo;s a great sport, physically it keeps you in shape and its a great family activity.&rdquo;</p> <p>Siolka had been practicing the one-ski gainer, two-ski gainer and one-ski front flip for about five years. His total score for the Malibu Open&rsquo;s freestyle competition was 455.5, with points earned for distance, form and degree of difficulty.</p> <p>He explained a &ldquo;gainer&rdquo; is a back-flip while maintaining a forward motion or gaining forward distance while doing a back-flip.</p> <p>&ldquo;The one ski front flip is the most difficult trick I have landed,&rdquo; Siolka said. &ldquo;However, my one-ski gainer scored much higher due to having great form and going a long distance, as well as landing it very smoothly.&rdquo;</p>

Tiffany Wilbert
Siolka soars in freestyle jump
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