Whitney McClintock Rini. Photo Credit: Johnny Hayward / COC 

Canada’s impressive showing at the 2023 Santiago Pan Am Games Women’s Slalom Prelims saw an unexpected twist today. Canadian athletes occupied three of the top four positions based on their high scores in the preliminary round.

However, under the current regulations, only two athletes from any one country can progress to the finals. This rule meant that Paige Rini, Neilly Ross, and Whitney McClintock Rini, all having identical scores, had to face a run-off. In a surprising turn of events, the veteran skier McClintock Rini, boasting 14 Pan Am medals spanning four Pan Am Games, did not make it through to the finals. As a result, Ross and Rini secured their places in the Women Slalom Finals.

Whitney McClintock Rini, who became a mother to her son Zane during the COVID pandemic and remarkably reclaimed her position as the second-ranked skier in the world, shared heartfelt sentiments after the competition. Reflecting on the pressures of the sport, she remarked, “There’s more pressure I think at this stage.” However, she remained optimistic about the future of the sport, noting, “I do believe that God has everything under control and I think Paige and Neilly have a huge future in the sport.”

Balancing her disappointment with a broader perspective, McClintock Rini added, “I think life is way more than just sport, and I believe that’s what God’s trying to reveal to me through all of this.” Her recent challenges on the water, including a difficult World Championships just last week, have been a testament to the ups and downs that even the most accomplished athletes face, “Literally within seven days, I’ve had two of my worst tournaments of my career.”

Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada remains proud of all its athletes, and we look forward to supporting Ross and Rini as they represent Canada in the finals. The resilience, skill, and passion displayed by our athletes are truly commendable and are indicative of the bright future Canadian water sports hold.

About Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada:

Water Ski and Wakeboard Canada (WSWC) is the national governing body for water skiing and wakeboarding in Canada. Dedicated to promoting these sports at every level, WSWC provides resources for athletes, coaches, and enthusiasts, fostering excellence and sportsmanship within a vibrant community passionate about the water.