Extreme Skier And Splash Winner Rory Bushfield

As part of my #BooksforRealityTVFans blog series, I have a special interview with extreme skier Rory Bushfield, who won the first season of the ABC celebrity diving show Splash in May. Below, Rory shares what it was like to participate on the show and tells us about The Sarah Burke Foundation, established in memory of his wife.

But first, if you didn’t see the first season of Splash, here’s what you missed. During the show, 10 celebrities trained and competed in regulation platform and springboard diving at dizzying heights in front of a weekly poolside audience. Leading up to the competition, diving legend Greg Louganis gave each celebrity weeks of training. Each dive was critiqued by the judges, London Olympic U.S. Gold medalist David Boudia and Australian Olympic athlete and USA Dive Team director Steve Foley.

Rory “Bushy” Bushfield, the 29-year-old extreme skiing air-hound from just outside Calgary, Alberta, and the first winner of Splash, has a simple philosophy – get low, go big, and stomp. Here are his thoughts on the Splash experience.

What were the similarities and differences between skiing and diving?

Skiing and diving both involve time in the air. So I had an advantage having skied and jumped on skis for the last 27 years. However diving requires a certain level of form. I struggled trying to swing my arms properly and point my toes. Also, landing on your head is not so natural for me. I’ve always trained myself not to do that.

Could you tell us what the training sessions of Splash were like? About how many hours of training and practice did you put in during your time on the show?

We trained almost every day. The training facility at the Rose Bowl was awesome! Everyone there was so nice. Between the trampolines and the ten meter platform, there was plenty of opportunity to get zero gravity time. Being coached by Greg Louganis was also really cool. He is a very inspirational person. It was amazing to cross paths with him. There was a huge Splash support team at the pool. They all were awesome. I looked forward to practice every day.

Host Joey Lawrence with Rory Bushfield

Host Joey Lawrence with Rory Bushfield

You ruptured an eardrum, but kept going week after week. Even with the precautions you took, it must have been incredibly painful. How difficult was it for you to keep getting in the water day after day after being injured?
My goal was to win. So I did what I had to do to achieve that goal. I’ve experienced worse injuries before, and I skied and competed with those, so this was not as big of a deal as one might think.

You were a model of sportsmanship on the show, actively supporting and cheering on the other divers. What do you hope that young people learned about sportsmanship from watching you?
Remember to have fun. Winning feels great, of course, but it’s important to enjoy the experience, regardless of outcome.

Rory Bushfield in the Air - Splash
What were the highlights of your experience on Splash? Do you feel that it changed you in any way?
I’m still the same guy. 🙂 But, I loved meeting and connecting with everyone involved. Hanging with Kareem was pretty damn cool.

The Sarah Burke Foundation was created to act as a Scholarship Foundation for athletes, while also donating to organizations Sarah would choose to support to continue her legacy. Could you tell us more about the scholarships and donations the foundation is involved with and how people can lend their support?

The Foundation was started by Sarah’s family, friends and myself. It’s all about helping kids live out their dreams and achieve their goals. That’s what Sarah did herself and made possible for countless others, so that’s why it’s important to us to keep that going. We were recently able to give $15,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and just gave out grants of $7,500 each to three young up and coming athletes. In fact, we actually intended to give away only two grants, but we had so many amazing applications, it made it really hard for the committee to decide. So, we ended up handing out three. To learn more, people can go online to http://www.sarahburkefoundation.com

Rory with Tony Hawk.

Rory with Tony Hawk

What are some of your post-Splash plans?
Stay tuned. You can keep up to date with what I’m doing at @bushywayne on Twitter and Instagram. Thanks for all the support!

More About Rory:
Refreshingly modest and personable, Rory lets his actions speak louder than his words, a trait he showcases in the impressive extreme skiing film segments he produces each season. He now resides in Squamish, BC where he shreds the backcountry on a daily basis, continually progressing his style and pushing the skiers around him. In addition to filming award winning ski segments with top film companies such as Teton Gravity Research, Matchstick Productions, and Sherpas Cinema, Rory also recently joined the cast of Travis Pastranas’ Nitro Circus Live Tour, where he performs in front of sold out audiences across the world. Rory is a true outdoorsman. When he’s not skiing or filming, he spends his days mountain biking, surfing, base jumping, building things, fixing things and flying his plane. In 2011, Rory married his longtime girlfriend, fellow pro skier Sarah Burke. He proposed by spelling out “Marry Me Sarah” in rocks in a remote snow covered field outside of Whistler and flew Sarah over the field so that she could see it. Sarah was the best female freeskier of all time, a 4 Time Winter X Games Gold Medalist, and one of the main forces for Ski Halfpipe’s inclusion in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Sarah tragically passed away in January 2012 due to a fall in the halfpipe during training.

Around the Web:
Rory’s Website
The Sarah Burke Foundation
Rory on Facebook
Rory on Twitter

Check out the Best of Rory Bushfield You Tube video

Books for Reality TV Fans
Are you a bookworm who enjoys reality TV or the entertainment industry? Then hurry over and add these bargain books to your summer reading list as each novel has a plot thread relating to reality TV or television in general. To celebrate the launch of this list, I hope you’ll enjoy the “reruns” I am showcasing of my June 2011 interviews with former contestants from the reality TV shows Survivor, Top Chef, Beauty and the Geek, Shark Tank, Bachelor Pad, I Love New York and Big Brother, along with a series of brand new interviews including this one with Rory Bushfield. Check out my review of the Splash show!

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  1. I never watched Splash but this is so interesting Rory! I confess that I am a chicken when it comes to physical risk-taking. I did learn to ski at 40 and managed the blue diamonds pretty gracefully, but anything harder turned me to jelly:). So your feats fill me with admiration.

    And so sorry about Sarah. I admire all you and her family are doing to pass on her legacy!

  2. I didn’t know Rory before Splash. I loved watching the show and getting to know Rory. What came across from me was how geniune Rory was. He was very personable and a “real” guy. I really admired how he continued to dive despite his ruptured eardrum. I’d love to buy him a beer sometime. 😉 He’s got a fan with me.


Stacy Juba