Wedowee native Joe Ray has been inducted into the USA Water Ski and Wake Sports Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2020. Ray was inducted at a ceremony April 24 after the 2020 ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19.
Ray announced his retirement from competition at age 59 following the conclusion of the 2017 Disabled Water Ski World Championships. Competing in the MP2 Division from 1998-2016, Ray won 34 gold medals, seven silver medals and four bronze medals at the U.S. Disabled Water Ski National Championships. He was a 10-time national MP2 overall champion.
As a nine-time member of the U.S. disabled Water Ski Team, he won 13 gold medals, six silver medals and five bronze medals at the Disabled Water Ski World Championships. H ws a three-time world MP2 overall champion and a member of five gold-medal winning U.S. Disabled Water Ski Teams. He set six MP2 wold slalom records and he was the first MP2 water skier to run the outer course.
At the only two Disabled Pan Ame r i c a n Championships held, he won the overall gold medal both times in Seated Men. He was a six-time recipient of the Water Skiers with Disabilities Association’s Male Athlete of the Year award.