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Rick White
Professional High Diver
Brooklyn, NY

In the late 1960’s and 1970’s, Rick White was a regular on ABC’s Wide World of Sports and often mentioned along with Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown as one of the great African American athletes of his day. Rick was captain of the USA High Dive team that competed at Acapulco, Mexico and around the world. Discovered by Bob and Norma Maxwell while diving in a public pool in New York City, Rick became the star of the Maxwell’s water shows that toured around the world. In 1979, during a visit to the International Swimming Hall of Fame, President Gerald Ford, when asked what he’d like to see during his visit, reportedly said, “I’d like to meet the black diver named white.” Rick, who was performing in Miami at the time, arranged to set up his high dive act at the Hall of Fame pool. At the president’s signal, Rick began his decent from 100 feet into the Hall’s dive well, after shouting down, “We love you Gerry!” Afterwards, when the two met, remembers, White: “When the president greeted me after the dive, he gave me a ‘soul brother’ handshake. It was the first time I ever got that greeting from a white man, and it was the President of the United States.”


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