Las Vegas, NV – – The World Acrobatics Society celebrated its 25th anniversary (1996-2021) at its annual “Gallery of Legends – Hall of Fame” banquet on September 11, 2021, at the Tuscany Casino & Suites in Las Vegas. An audience of nearly 80 people led by Emcee Donny Ray Evins, former gymnast, now Las Vegas entertainer, honored the Class of 2021 inductees, who were selected for their high level of accomplishment and contributions to the acrobatic community.
Including these ten honorees, the WAS Gallery of Legends – Hall of Fame has inducted 307 individuals from around the world.
These outstanding individuals have been selected for their excellence in their specific disciplines, with many continuing to stay involved in a professional and exemplary manner. In addition, they have contributed to society and the growth of acrobatics on a national and worldwide basis.
The 2021 Inductees are:
- ACROBATIC GYMNASTICS – Sergii Popov & Mykola Shcherbak – World champion sport acrobatic duo who transitioned to professional acrobatics and performed worldwide.
- ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS – Nellie Kim – Gold medal Olympic gymnast from the Soviet Union who became President of the Women’s Gymnastics Technical Committee for the Federation of International Gymnastics.
- DIVING – Don Dunfield – Trampoline/acrobat/diver who performed internationally and before retiring coached collegiate springboard diving.
- PROFESSIONAL ACROBATICS – Cristiani Family – One of the most famous acrobatic equestrians in circus history.
- TRAMPOLINE/TUMBLING – Karen Cockburn – Canada’s most decorated Olympic trampoline athlete who continues on as Canadian National Team Director.
- CHARLIE POND SERVICE AWARD – Nel Filliger – As a member of WAS since its inception in 1996, Nel serves the organization in many capacities and is producer of the annual Hall of Fame inductee videos.
- GOLDEN ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – Norbert Dill (1938-2021) – A champion of wheel gymnastics who founded a top-selling gymnastics supply company while continuing to support the growth of wheel gymnastics worldwide.
- LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – Wendy Hilliard – The first black rhythmic gymnast to represent the US in international competition who founded the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation serving urban youth in New York City and Detroit.
- ACROBATIC EXCELLENCE AWARD – Blue Angels – Celebrating 75 years of thrilling aerial acrobatic team performances with extraordinary execution of complex aerobatics, the Blue Angels continue to inspire and foster a culture of excellence and service to countryEstablished in 1996, the World Acrobatics Society (WAS) is an exciting, growing worldwide not- for-profit 501(c)3 organization whose members share a love of acrobatics. The mission is to advance the education, communication, and cooperation among all individuals and organizations interested in fostering the growth, development and safety of the various acrobatic disciplines along with preserving their histories.
The major acrobatic disciplines recognized by WAS include:
Acrobatic Gymnastics & Cheerleading, Diving, Extreme Sports, Artistic Gymnastics, Professional Acrobatics, Trampoline & Tumbling, in addition to the Golden Achievement Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Charlie Pond Service Award.