- Category: Krista Rogers - Outside The Ball Line
- Published on Monday, 24 October 2011 12:44
By Aimee Berg, TeamUSA.org
A guy walks into a bar on Halloween. He’s about 5-foot-7, athletic, and wearing street clothes. The bouncer takes his ID, studies it, and refuses to let him in. He’s absolutely sure it’s a fake.
“I mean, who goes out on Halloween with a license that says Freddy Krueger on it?” said Frederick Krueger IV, the world record holder in water ski jumping who will vie for his third Pan American Games gold on Sunday (Oct. 23).
“I’ve ordered more pizzas than you can count that don’t get delivered,” he said. “More than once, I’ve had car rental agencies hang up
What these strangers don’t realize is that Krueger was born nine years before the release of Wes Craven’s slasher flick, A Nightmare on Elm Street; he doesn’t particularly like horror films; and his Germanic family tree is filled with long lines of Freds and Frederikas. “They weren’t very creative,” he said of his ancestors.
In 1984, when Nightmare was released, the hazing was almost immediate.
“I thought about a nickname,” he said, “but my middle name is August so I couldn’t go with that.”
Compounding the brutality, Krueger entered high school in Decatur, Ill., at 4-foot-11 and 78 pounds. But when he made the varsity basketball team in ninth grade, the smart kid with the funny name suddenly became “the little white kid who could play ball,” he said.
“It kinda saved me from getting swirlies every day,” he added.
Back home, the Krueger household was full of water skiers. Krueger’s
father (a high school shop teacher) raced slalom. His mother (an accountant) jumped. His two older sisters, Lori and Julie, competed in tricks, jumping and slalom. And from the day his dad held the back of his life jacket and took him over a corner of a jump ramp at age 5, Krueger gravitated toward jumping.