Felix Grossman: Why I Am One In A Thousand

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Felix Grossman, MISHOF Honoree is special.  He is One in a Thousand!

When asked why he wanted to join the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s One in A Thousand Club, Grossman replied,It is a great honor for me to be a MISHOF Inductee and I am proud to play whatever small role I can in securing its future. Do I want to be One-In-A-Thousand? Actually, I hope I will be One-in-Ten-Thousand.”

Felix joins other ISHOF Honorees Dara Torres, Jason Lezak, and Klaus DiBiasi in the ISHOF One in a Thousand club.

Join Felix and the One in a Thousand Club by helping ISHOF on a monthly or one-time basis.

ONE IN THOUSAND

For larger corporate sponsorships and estate-planning donations, please contact us at customerservice@ishof.org.

About Felix Grossman

My journey to ISHOF began in 1987. Bob Muir was my diving coach at Williams College, Williamstown, MA, from 1952 to 1956. He was also to be named as the head coach of the USA Olympic Swim Team for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, the only small college coach ever to be so honored. In 1956 I placed 15th in the 1-meter and 17th in the 3-meter diving at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships (no divisions back then; it was just after fire was invented) and took 29th out of approximately 70 springboard divers at the Olympic Trials in Detroit that Summer. Obviously, I was not an elite diver, except in the minds of my folks.

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Photo Courtesy: Felix Grossman

In about 1987 I began working with Carl Samuelson, the Williams swim coach who succeeded Bob, to get Bob inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He was the only US Olympic swim coach who was not in the Hall. We worked with Buck Dawson and put together material establishing that Bob deserved to be there. In 1989 Bob was inducted and I attended that lovely event. It was my first visit to the Hall and I was much impressed. The Hall represented the finest in the history of our sport and those honored to be in it were incredibly deserving. One thing was clear. Under no circumstances would there ever be a place for a ho-hum, mediocre but enthusiastic diver such as I in that prestigious environment. I had been active in Masters Diving for about 12 years at that time and my diving dreams did not realistically include being in the Hall.

Masters Diving, in fact Masters sports in general, offers athletes the opportunity to compete meaningfully and at a high level from in their 20’s into their 90’s and beyond.  To keep at diving for 20, 30, 40 or more years is a tribute to my love of the sport. It requires a dedication that can legitimately be described as transcending even that of many Olympic athletes. Olympic athletes are the best in their sport at the time they are training and competing. Their ability, talent and training ethic are incredible and awe inspiring. But in most cases when their Olympic years are over, so is their active participation in their sport. For Masters athletes the only definable end of the road is either physical inability or their last breath.

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Photo Courtesy: Felix Grossman

Competing in Masters Diving has not only provided an outlet for our athletic desires it has become a medium for athletic excellence, success and national and international recognition and camaraderie that was, frankly, not available to us when we were much younger. Many of us have become national champions and even world champions in our sport; not realistically achievable goals when we were younger. We love our sport and we are willing and desirous of pursuing it and working at it for many, many years, well into our 50’s, 60’s, and for some into our 80’s and 90’s. It gives energy to our lives. Frankly, it amazes me that so many of our great Olympic athletes can walk away from diving as a competitive recreational sport. Do they love our sport any less than we do? Probably not, but they sure seem content to leave it behind while we want to love and enjoy it for year after year, decade after decade.

I am reminded of what the beautiful Carol McAlister told me when her husband, the great Masters Diver Bill McAlister was about 84 years old. She said, “You know, Felix, just about the only thing Bill has to live for these days is our national championships. His entire life revolves around getting ready for the next Masters meet.” Bill died in 2000 at 89 years of age – he was a consummate Masters Diver. He was inducted into ISHOF in 2005.

Which brings me to the question at hand – why I want to be part of the One-In-A-Thousand campaign of ISHOF.  It is a great honor for me to be a MISHOF Inductee and I am proud to play whatever small role I can in securing its future. Do I want to be One-In-A-Thousand? Actually, I hope I will be One-in-Ten-Thousand.

Those of us who love the sports of swimming and diving wish good luck to ISHOF and those who are running it during this critical time in its history. We are delighted to be able to be a part of the magnificent rebuilding work you are doing.

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Photo Courtesy: Felix Grossman

Grossman was inducted into MISHOF as an Honor Diver in 2013.  He is now in his fifth decade and has competed in 52 U.S. National Masters Championships. He has won 33 USA Masters Diving titles (gold) in eight age groups: 40-44 to 75-79 through 2013. He set a world record when he scored 213.8 points diving in the 70-74 age group, a record which he continues to hold now in its eighth year.

Grossman has competed in seven FINA Masters World Championships, winning two gold, six silver, one bronze medal and a 5th and a 7th place. He has competed in five World Masters Games, winning three gold, three silver, three bronze, and a fourth place.

In 1987, Felix had both of his severely arthritic hips replaced and still beat the field of divers in his age group. This was the first time a diver with two prosthetic hips had won a national championship. In 1992, he won the FINA Masters World Championships with his two replacement hips. In 1998, he had both of his arthritic knees replaced. In 2001, he again won the USA Diving Masters Nationals followed by World Masters Championships in Melbourne winning with four prosthetic joints, two hips and two knees. In 2002, he was featured in Sports Illustrated for his prosthetic joint success. Over the years, his prosthetic advice and recommendations has led to the successful extension of many divers’ careers. They learned success on the board does not have to end with bad joints.

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Photo Courtesy: Felix Grossman

In 2004, Grossman was presented with the Bicentennial Medal, bestowed by his alma mater Williams College. “You are an inspiration to the college divers you train with and to the countless inner-city Los Angeles teenagers you have encouraged to set high standards for themselves. Your non-profit organization, Felix Ventures, now works with students at L.A.’s Workman High School to stretch them physically and academically and to challenge them to develop work habits that will help them reach their full potential. It has developed into the school’s largest co-curricular activity, involving each year more than 150 students, almost all of whom will go on to college.”

Beginning in 1975 and for over 30 years, Felix has conducted Masters diving meets in his home state of California as well as serving as a sort of Chaplain, spiritual and motivational spokesperson for the sport.

Pushing 80, he has been athletically inclined all his adult life.  Mountaineering, mountain biking, backpacking, windsurfing, cross-country and downhill skiing, water skiing, competitive tennis, and of course, springboard diving.

Felix Grossman, He IS “One in a Thousand.  


ONE IN THOUSAND

The International Swimming Hall of Fame wants to know if you are one in a thousand?  We think you are!  Show how special you are and become a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame’s “One In A Thousand” Club.  Help keep the International Swimming Hall of Fame moving forward toward a new vision and museum by joining now!

During these unprecedented times, the ISHOF Board is calling on every member in the aquatic community to make a small monthly commitment of support to show how special you are and how special the International Swimming Hall of Fame is to everyone.

 

Our goal is simple. If we get 1,000 people to simply commit $10, $25 or $50 per month, we will generate enough revenue to go beyond this Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis.” – Bill KentChairman of the ISHOF Board

Those that believe in our vision, mission, and goals can join us in taking ISHOF into the future and be a part of aquatic history.”  – Brent Rutemiller – CEO and President of ISHOF

Since 1965, ISHOF has been the global focal point for recording and sharing the history of aquatics, promoting swimming as an essential life-skill, and developing educational programs and events related to water sports. ISHOF’s vision for the future is to build a new museum and expand its reach by offering its museum artifacts digitally through a redesigned website.

The ISHOF Board of Directors is calling on all members of the aquatics community to make a small monthly commitment to show their dedication to aquatics and how special the International Swimming Hall of Fame is to everyone.

About ISHOF   Take a Virtual Tour

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) museum opened its doors to the public in December of 1968 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That same year, the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) – the governing body for Olympic aquatic sports – designated the ISHOF museum as the “Official Repository for Aquatic History”.   In 2018, Sports Publications Inc, publisher of Swimming World Magazine and its multi-media platforms, merged with ISHOF to expand the museum’s reach and impact.  Today, ISHOF’s vision is to be the global focal point for recording and sharing the history of aquatics, promoting swimming as an essential life-skill, and developing educational programs and events related to water sports.  Show your support for the sport of swimming by becoming a member of ISHOF.

ISHOF Vision Statement
To be the global focal point for recording and sharing the history of aquatics, promoting swimming as an essential life-skill, and developing educational programs and events related to water sports.

ISHOF Mission Statement
To collaborate with aquatic organizations worldwide to preserve, educate and celebrate history, showcase events, share cultures, and increase participation in aquatic sports.

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Architectural rendition of Hall of Fame Aquatic Center that is currently under renovation.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame, Inc. is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, incorporated in the State of Florida. Contributions to ISHOF are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. ISHOF’s tax identification number is 59-1087179. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE OR FROM THE WEBSITE, www.800helpfla.com. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. You can find out more about us on guidestar.org under International Swimming Hall of Fame, Inc.

For more information please contact:
Brandi West, Marketing Director
brandiw@swimmingworld.com
954-462-6536

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