Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Mary Can Ski

I would like to advise that due to the efforts of the Bridge to Bridge’s major sponsor Nick Feros from Feros Group of Hotels and Cliff Priest, Mary and myself attended a meeting at 5.00pm yesterday at the NSW Water Ski Federation with Meryl Lee and Jan Thurgar who represent the Federation.  
This meeting was instigated by Nick and Cliff in an attempt to work together to find a solution to allow Mary to ski.  I confirm that many issues were discussed at great length, but in the end I am happy to say that Mary will be allowed to ski in the Bridge subject to signing an “Agreement” with conditions,  the main one being that we will start in the last grid of the first group and will only be allowed to travel up the River till a certain time or designated point, then we will  pull over and wait for the Super Class Boats to come through.  We will then be allowed to finish the rest of the race.
I have to say that this was not an easy negotiation and I thank all concerned for taking the time and putting in the effort .I know that certain people are not happy with this outcome, however I strongly believe that the majority of the ski racing fraternity will be pleased to see Mary be included in this Race as she rightfully deserves to be. 
We cannot thank the hundreds of people that have taken the time to email your support, together with the support we have also received from the Social Network Websites, I have no doubt that this meeting would not have occurred if it wasn’t for the efforts of the wider ski racing fraternity and we thank you again for taking the time out of your busy lives to help this cause.
I will say that I am still extremely disappointed with how my Grandmother has been treated by certain people, however this treatment has been far outweighed by the fabulous support from the majority of ski racing, Australian and Oversees communities.
Once again I would like to thank the major sponsor Feros Group of Hotels who was instrumental in this meeting taking place.  I now feel that Mary can prepare and enjoy the lead up to such an important milestone and achievement in her life without all the undue stress that has been associated with this experience.
Once again thanks to ALL for your efforts and support.

Monday, 17 October 2011


DID YOU KNOW IN THE 70'S MARY ALSO WAS LADIES Australian Barefoot Water Ski Champion, Brett was about 10 at the time, I was pleased to be asked by Mary for some Barefoot coaching, Ron used to drive her at 46 mph so she could step off Backwards ':OUCH" my boys idolised her - Bob Wing

I hope you get to ski in your 50th B to B you deserve it. You have been a great servant to the sport for many years.

Your decision to refuse Mary McMillan’s (and my entry) is absolutely ridiculous. I am deeply hurt by the Federation and Bridge to Bridge Committee’s decision you not only have successfully stood in the way of history and someone’s personal goal, but you have also “crushed the spirit” of an up and coming 11 year old ski racer in my son Brock McMillan who is, so far, the second youngest person ever to have skied this race. You all need to have a real good think as to why you sit on a Committee and ask yourself is it for the best interest of the competitors and the sport, because this decision is far from that!

Mary carries the traditions and essence of our ski racing sport, from the first ever Bridge to Bridge race uptill now in its 50th year. You cannot deny this achievement and let her write herself into the history books for her marvellous endurance and skill to achieve so many completed races. Let commonsense prevail and we can all cheer her on.

I am writing this letter on behalf of my family, my parents having been involved in ski racing for  near 50 years. We are disgusted at the attitude of the N.S.W. ski federation and the Bridge 2 Bridge sub commitee. You should be portraying Mary's 50th Bridge 2 Bridge race for what it is , an inspirational milestone event. Shame on you for trying to take such an achievement away from an absolute icon and legend of our sport. For generations Mary's love and enthusiasm of ski racing have inspired many novices to have a go, and many veterens to have one more go. Mary has been a role model to hundreds of skiers over the years . If you were smart you would be using Mary's story to promote our sport , not mar it !!!   LET MARY SKI !! 

Please listen to the world of waterskiers....Mary is a smart woman. If she says she can ski, she has to be given this unique opportunity. 

What happened to water ski racing? It used to be a wonderful family sport. The McMillan family are a wonderful and highly experienced water skiing family that should be encouraged to compete and remind everyone how great a sport water skiing is and how it can and does bring a family together regardless of age.

Having sat on the board of NSWWSF I was very disappointed to see the bad media Water Skiing is receiving. To not allow Mary McMillan the privilege to ski in her 50th Bridge to Bridge is a disgrace.
She will be the only person in our life time to achieve such an honor, to have skied in all 50 Bridges. Please reconsider to allow this wonderful lady & her family this special moment in Waterskiing History to ski the full race distance of the Bridge.

Mary has my full support to ski in the 50th bridge to bridge ...i think it would be a great shame not to let this great lady ski.  I gave some old ski race mags to the bridge committee for display this year and i think every one of them had a story on Mary...this lady is a legend of the sport

Let her Ski and benefit in the publicity that it will create for the sport.

It appears to be an unsportsmanlike decision, as can be felt by the world-wide support that is coming in for Mary to be allowed to race.  In this, the races 50th year, you have a chance to offer to the sporting world an athlete who has competed in every single one of these races. I doubt that this feat with ever be matched in our sport, ever again. In nearly any sport !  Mary is an intelligent, strong, humble, beautiful lady and to take away her chance to compete, in the 50th running of the event ( and her last ) is just unthinkable in it's brutality. I urge you to please reconsider your stance on this matter urgently, for the sake of Mary and her Family, for ski racing in general, and for the Bridge to Bridge to honour their hero one last time, without controversy weighing down celebrations.

I encourage the NSWWSF to find a way to accept Mary's entry to ski her 50th B2B as part of the Sunday racing. I believe this is an appropriate way to honour a true legend of our sport, history should not be under estimated and either way this year's B2B will go down in history as a 'shining' moment in our sport or potentially one of our 'dark' hours. I believe Mary skiing her 50th B2B would be in the very best interest of the sport, after the initial Channel 9 report of Mary's participation this year, any possible follow up negative reporting regarding her exclusion and the division that it generated in ski racing would not be attractive to current or future sponsors.

Mary you are an inspiration !!! Your contributions to ski racing are amazing. My family and friends many of whom are ski racers are all 1000% behind you ! This amazing milestone needs to be reached !

I really hope this can be sorted out for this wonderful family. Compromise can't be this difficult.

Mary is an inspiration not only to Ski Racers but to everyone out there.

We all have a choice on how we live our lives, but NOT the right to determine how others should live theirs.  For the benefit and future of the sport we all love, find a way to let Mary McMillan complete her dream of skiing in the 50th Bridge to Bridge. She is truly a legend of the sport and deserving of the fact that we should all go that one step further to ensure she skis.

I started my waterskiing days back in 1968 at Pop & Sadies ski gardens at Cliftonville & Mary Mac was well known to everyone up & down the river way back then, over the years I have sat on the banks of the Hawkesbury (having married a local Wilberforce boy) many many times & watched her ‘come home’ across the finish line or weekends leading up the event seen training along the river….my son rang me today to tell me about this injustice & I am furious that they are even contemplating this… I have just spent the last hour reading the facebook comments & unfortunately insults & I think that Darren Osmotherly “Oz” has come up with the best solution…good luck to all the McMillans & especially Mary in this saga…I have just celebrated my 61st birthday & if I could do half the things at this age that Mary has done in her 81 years then I would die a happy lady...

Our family have had great admiration of you over many years.  You have a never give up attitude that most of us aspire to.

Federation - Please reconsider your decision, and do whatever it takes, ask whoever you need to ask, and find a way to let Mary McMillan ski the 50th Bridge to Bridge. She and her crew have more experience than many who will be on the river and would never impede another competitor. The impact of your decision either way is going to have incredibly far reaching effects on the sport, I sincerely hope you find the way to make these effects positive.

She is such a great role model to not only the water skiing fraternity but to so many people from all walks of life. To see not only what she has achieved throughout her life but what she still does day to day is such an inspiration.  I hope that when I’m 81 years old I have even half of her zest for life and a quarter of her ability  a tenth of her courage and I would be doing brilliant.  Mary is an icon of the Bridge to Bridge and to not be allowed to compete would be an absolute tragedy.  Every year we have watched and waited for her to come past us ( as we are retired ski racers at half her age!!) anyway we know when she is coming as the cheer along the bank comes along with her like a Mexican wave.  I hope that people power, human compassion and least of all common decency will prevail and the decision to allow Mary to ski will be made sooner rather than later as I’m sure all of this controversy has been very upsetting for her and her family.

Accept the McMillan's entry for the 2011 Sydney Bridge to Bridge & let Mary Ski.  To deny Mary and the rest of the sport of ski racing this wonderful opportunity, is an absolute outrage!  I'm sure, with consultation, willingness & a little work, a solution can be found to any issues that might de-rail such an important occasion for Mary, the event & the sport overall.

Precedents have been set with special exemptions for people to ski backwards to raise much needed charity dollars without refusal. There was lots of red tape logistically, but put to a vote I believe nearly all competitors would have a lump in their throats to see such a fantastic achievement.  I can only urge you to reconsider the decision to refuse Mary's entry.

Somehow find it in your hearts to let this lady ski her final race…This is a piece of history that we will never see again…

The decision to not allow Mary McMillan is the most un- Australian thing I have ever heard. There will never be a sporting achievement in any sport, world wide that will ever challenge her continual involvement as a competitor.

Words fail me when i heard of the decision not to allow Mary McMillian to ski in her 50th Bridge 2 Bridge.  To me and to many people i ve spoken to involved in the sport and many who are not her name Mary McMillian is the Bridge 2 Bridge.   To be still as active and healthy as she is,she has earn't the right to be able to achieve something that will never be done again.  The sport of Water ski Racing owes Mary this oppurtunity,and it is so wrong that it has come to this.

This is blatant age discrimination.  Mary and her family should not have to justify her right to compete and should not have to lobby for her right to compete.  The NSW Federation do not have the authority to "let" Mary ski.  Mary is rightfully entitled to participate in the community and its events (including ski racing) regardless of her age.  Any group or persons attempting to exclude Mary has broken the law and can be pursued under the Anti Discrimination Act.  The McMillan family should not have to go to these lengths to uphold Mary's basic rights.  If the powers that be made an ignorant and uninformed decision regarding Mary's entry, then once their mistake was brought to their attention it should have been a simple matter of an apology and acceptance of Mary's entry.

If this sport cant find a way to let Mary ski? Then I will lose faith in why we do this sport in the first place. This sport is “For the love of it” and without people like Mary what does that actually mean.

I think she should be allowed to ski even at her age she knows her capabilities. To my knowledge there is no age limit on skiers, and she is quite capable of making up her own mind. Maybe if some committee members got out and competed in the race they would appreciate how she feels about doing the 50th. Our daughter skied the b2b at the age of 6, there were no restrictions on age.

I have been in this sport continuously for 25 years. The reason for so long, great people and family orientated.  Mary McMillan is an inspiration for every person that has a goal and determination to do what ever they put their mind too.  There is no reason that all competitors will not sacrifice a small part of their day so as Mary can complete the course safely.  Hopefully common sense prevails here and we are able to celebrate a great achievement.

This is so out of control, what do you think you are achieving by not letting her ski? she is the life and huge inspiration for the sport. Politics and selfishness  should be no part of this. Let her ski, 50 from 50 awesome achievement. Do not let this be the reason the 50 b2b is remembered, nor for Mary.  Let her ski, let this happen. 

I am shaking my head in disbelieve, I don’t understand what is going on. All I can say is that if Mary doesn’t compete is her historic event it will be the saddest day in ski racing. I have raced 7 bridges from 1978-1985 and have always admired her. Please let common sense take its place.

We have grown up with Mary being our idol within the ski racing fraternity and what better way to honour someone who has out done every other sports person in Australian history, than to let her finish her career in a way that would only help bring ski racing into a media frenzy. This can only benefit the racing community and its only one more race !!!  Mary has to be the most amazing lady I have ever met. She is always dressed immaculately, always ready to help and always makes an effort to come over and see how you are going. To have Mary represent our sport should be an honour not a nuisance...

I skied against you for many years in B2B and Nationals and saw you at Worlds at Redcliffe. I am only a “young-un”...75  I wish you every success in your quest to ski the 50th B2B...you deserve the honour.

 It seems to me that whilst a decision has been made, the decision makers would rather cause all this upheavel, then just admit they may have made a mistake.  It takes a big person to admit they have mad an error of judgement. Why are you prepared to spend the money of your federation to fight something that the majority of members want?

I think this is an absolute disgrace!!!! If it weren't for Ron & Mary, I highly doubt that Ski Racing would be anywhere near as popular as it is today!

NSW water ski federation You must be kidding ? Grow up,and do the honourable thing..

This is a shame. Mary should be able to ski just based on her history and dedication to the sport! But to have the rug yanked out without even a reason!? Unacceptable. The powers that be should have compassion on an "old lady" who wants nothing more than to complete her 50 quest.
My grandmother, MARY Murphy, completed a 52 mile open ocean ride from Los Angeles to Catalina Island and back every year on her birthday from 79-88. She lived for this event every year. I can't imagine someone saying no to a person like this who shows such courage. It would have killed her!
I was taught to respect my elders... what is happening to today's upside-down society? If there is a reason she should not ski, get it out in the open, because from this outsider's perspective it looks like the typical political BS!

In how many other sports has a competitor been competing in the same event for 49 years.  It is discriminatory not to let Mary McMillan ski her 50th Bridge to Bridge.  Shame, Shame, Shame on refusing her entry. If it is a time issue, then hopefully you will all remember the 5 year old skier a few years back that took over two hours from memory to complete the course.  He is now a highly competitive current skier.  Why is it that decisions like this can be made.  Would you disqualify Chris Stout and Noel Griffin if they stopped for 60 or more minutes and then chose to complete the course?  I think not.  Shame, Shame, Shame.  Hang your heads in shame, this decision is a disgrace

I am really annoyed that a select few can and have upset Mary and taking the goal of completing in her 50th B2B away from her and her family. I am confident these people will see that in Australia the "fair go" is alive and well. I hope they realise what a fantastic opportunity to really market the event not just nationally but internationally on the great news story this is. Right now this country needs to take the lead and encourage strong determined people like Mary. I look forward to Seeing her on all the news channels skiing in her 50th Bridge to Bridge.

Mary Macmillan has been an inspiration to many world champions over the years, her dedication and commitment to the sport have given many so much, her knowledge of the sport is unparalleled and if she feels as if she is capable then who are we mere mortals to disagree, Mary deserves 1 more chance to show us how special she really is and to show our  juniors what commitment and passion can achieve. I watched Mary 30 years  ago when I was a tadpole and here she is still showing us how its done, for all the right reasons please let Mary race 1 more time.

As our sport is so family orientated we would have thought that having Mary ski.. with her great grandson Brock, having her grandson David drive in a 50th B2B would make a wonderful story and help bring along perhaps a few more interested spectators, curious to see this amazing feat. Every competitor will be standing on the bank cheering her over the finish line.We should be applauding this wonderful lady and giving her the respect to retire from ski racing when she is ready not when others think she is.

Mary must ski her 50th Bridge to Bridge – what a milestone and what a great feat for the sport!
Your decision needs to be reversed – Mary Must Ski.

Good morning from Wales, U.K.
I just read the entire article on your predicament on ski racing, Appalling really that such issues can control whether you can ski or not. Its just a short one to show a bit of support from this relatively small corner of ski racing. Penarth water ski club and im sure the rest of Britain and Europe are supporting you. Treat this matter like the last straight of a race. Never give in to defeat.

There can be no better person than Mary to show to the world that our sport is a true family sport for ALL. More people seem to know of our sport through media interviews with Mary than with any of our recent World Champions. We should honour this lady.

I am a 56 year old Ski Racer and in my view this is absolute AGE DISCRIMINATION. I would have hoped that committies representing water skiers would not discriminate against various groups within our sport in this manner. 

Why would you be so mean spirited as to prevent one of the true icons of Australian water skiing competing in one last race ? 

Her contribution to the event and the sport has been immense and her desire to take part ought not be denied.

There are many in this sport who make a comeback, but very few who ski for fifty years continuously. Mary should definitely be allowed to ski this race. And retire on her own terms.

Mary is an amazing role model for this sport and during my time in ski racing she was one of the people I looked up to the most. Mary was always the first person by far to come up to me after a race and let me know that she was proud ( even if i skiied like crap that day ). It makes me sad and angry to think that she is being refused entry because I see how much this sport and the people in it light up her life and I would love to cheer her on at the bridge this year for her 50th time. Bobette and David towed me and taught me how to ski and looked after me in the four years I was involved in the sport, mary couldn't be safer then with these two people. I hope who ever has made this decision lets this beautiful lady do what she does best and thats ski and have fun.

Whats the matter with you guys LET Mary SKI her 50 th Bridge to Bridge

In my opinion the Federation should be ashamed of its treatment of a life member with such a long standing, and obviously well respected history, in your sport. I would also have thought that the positive publicity that such an achievement could generate, if supported by your Federation, would be invaluable.

This is absolutely UN-AUSTRALIAN this lady would know more about ski racing than any one I have ever met. Let her ski and make history, because no one will ever beat this record. If Mary says she is right to ski she is right to ski, there is no way Mary would danger herself or anyone else. LET HER SKI !!!!

Mary is such an inspiration to everyone.  You couldn’t get a better role model for senior citizens, to JUST KEEP DOING IT!  You couldn’t get a better role model for women, to JUST DO IT!! And you couldn’t get a better role model for everyone with someone with as much heart as Mary.

Yes she may be old and yes it may take her a little longer than most. But when you get old it is these little things that keep you going. Her family and friends support her, the broader ski racing fraternity support her, so why not??? Once she is gone it will be too late, and their just might not be another person like her that has embodied the same history and spirit as what we will see.

In a world of rampant ego maniacs who use their power to either justify their own ends or make themselves feel good it is heart warming when those in a official capacity can make exceptions to rules for altruistic motives. Please be one of the later and not former and allow this ski legend to ski her 50th and final race.

Friday, 14 October 2011

We are letting you all know of the battle that we have on our hands at present,  we would really like your help.

In short form Mary & Brock’s Entry to the 2011 50th Bridge to Bridge has been refused by the NSW Ski Federation, they have not given a reason but merely stated in their letter “that their decision is final and will not be reconsidered”.  This letter did not come from the Bridge Committee as they are merely a Sub Committee of the NSW Federation, so unfortunately the Federation is also made up of Wake Boarders, Bare Footers and Tournament Skiers who have the final say on Mary not skiing the 50th Bridge to Bridge, remembering that she is the only person to have skied the whole 49 previous Bridges and this was to be her 50th & Final Race.  You would be hard pushed to find any other Sporting Person in the world that would have competed for 50 straight years in the one sport let alone the one race.

We have known for a while before it leaked out on Social Media Sites:-




For a full run down of the goings on and the public outcry these sites really tell it all.   David has posted a couple of things but purely to set people right with the correct info.

Just to UPDATE everyone on how things have happened so far:-
- Jan Thurgar approached my Grandmother at the SRNSW First Aid Day and had a conversation with her that went along the lines of the Federation not accepting her entry.  As you can imagine this upset her very much and actually made her quite sick for a number of weeks.
- I then sent a letter to the Federation and Bridge Committee requesting clarification as to why this conversation took place and under what grounds would our entry be refused.
- Jan responded to me and requested a meeting with myself and Mary, which we were only too happy to attend.
- Then on a number of occasions Jan was unable to attend due to the injury of her shoulder
- Jan then suggested that we meet at Redcliffe leading up to the Worlds or after the completion of the worlds.  I was not able to attend prior to the Worlds, as I didn’t arrive until early morning of the Opening Ceremony, so I presumed there would be a meeting once everyone returned home.
- Our Bridge to Bridge Entry was lodged and there has been no further communications until Mary received the letter dated 30th September, 2011 via Registered Post refusing her entry in the 112km Event and stating that “the decision is final and will not be reconsidered”.  I am happy to email this letter to anybody that would like a copy.

Mary is a life member of Ski Racing Australia and does not have to pay her membership each year, she signs an Insurance Waiver each year and is not covered by SRA insurance.  SRA have no problem with Mary competing anywhere in the Country and they are the ones that give sanctioning to this Race.

I have spoken directly to the person at Waterways who issued the Bridge to Bridge Licence and he has told me that they have no problem with Mary racing and would be happy to work with us to accommodate her being in the race if need be, but the problem is that the Federation are the ones that hold the Licence.

We are happy to start whenever in the Race and stop if we need to get out of the way of Super Class just as we have done in previous years.   I would certainly not put any of my family or a fellow competitor in any danger, so I don’t see where the problem lies.

Mary has not deteriorated from last year, she has actually done more skiing and is fitter than she has been for years.  The rejection of this Entry not only affects Mary but also the rest of the family, especially Brock who also does not get to ski the Bridge.

It is true that there are Lawyers involved now, along with the Human Rights Commission, but do you really think this is what we want?   Mary is an 81 Year Old Pensioner and the Federation obviously must be prepared to use competitor’s funds to fight her.

All of the media outlets are pushing for interviews with Mary, imagine the bad publicity that this could bring on the sport and sponsors of the race – common sense you think should prevail and all of this should be used to promote the good of the sport, just like Mary’s Channel 9 Interview last Friday Night which was the first TV promotion of the Bridge this year.

So Maca has now joined Facebook and set up an email address letmaryski@bigpond.com so everybody could help us and get behind this quest, by simply sending an email showing your support for Mary to ski the Bridge.  It doesn’t have to be long a couple of words will do, just ensure that you state your full name on the email and address it to the NSW Water Ski Federation.     *There will also shortly be a Blog at letmaryski.com.

If you could also send this onto as many as possible to help our cause or if you have any suggestions that would be appreciated. By doing this hopefully people power will help get Mary over the line for the 50th Time and once again thanks to everyone for supporting this.


Please kindly leave your suggestions or messages of support as they are all greatly appreciated, however we need you to send an EMAIL to letmaryski@bigpond.com so we can forward these onto the NSW Water Ski Federation and the NSW Sports Minister.

Simply address in the body of the email to NSW Water Ski Federation, state your comments and make sure you put your full name.