Eight-time USA Barefoot Waterskiing champion, Zenon Bilas has been inducted into the Ukrainian Sports Hall of Fame. The Ukrainian Sports Hall of Fame, located in Horsham, Pa., is for athletes and coaches who were born in the Ukraine or are of Ukrainian descent. His parents emigrated from Ukraine to the United States in 1955 and Bilas, 58, learned to waterski on tiny, Round Lake in Ilinois, which is just outside of Chicago. It was on those shores that the local Ukrainian immigrant community, to which Bilas’ parents belonged, purchased land for recreation.
“Dad took us fishing,” recalled, Bilas. “Fishing led to a boat, and a boat led to an outboard and the outboard - a 7.5 hp Evinrude - led to skiing.”
Bilas joins such prestigious names in the world of sports, including the greatest hockey player of all time Wayne Gretzky, Olympic gold medal figure skating champions Oksana Baiul and Viktor Petrenko, Chicago Bears Super Bowl XX winning coach Mike Ditka, soccer superstar Andriy Shevchenko, and Olympic gold medal winning pole vaulter Sergey Bubka -- all of whom were born in the Ukraine or are of Ukrainian descent. The 2020 Induction ceremony will be held with the 2021 class of Inductees in 2021.