Felix Grossman (USA)
2013 Honor Diver
INTERNATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS (DIVER): 1992 FINA MASTERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (3m springboard), silver (1m springboard); 1996 FINA MASTERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (1m, 3m springboard); 2000 FINA MASTERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (1m springboard), bronze (3m springboard); 2002 FINA MASTERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (1m, 3m springboard); 2004 FINA MASTERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (3m springboard), silver (1m springboard); 2006 FINA MASTERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: 5th (1m, 3m springboard); 2008 FINA MASTERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (1m springboard); 7th (3m springboard); COMPETED IN FIVE WORLD MASTERS GAMES: 1985 WORLD MASTERS GAMES: bronze (3m springboard), 4th (1m springboard); 1989 WORLD MASTERS GAMES: silver (3m springboard), bronze (1m springboard); 2001 WORLD MASTERS GAMES: gold (1m springboard), gold (3m); 2005 WORLD MASTERS GAMES: gold (1m springboard), silver (3m springboard); 2009 WORLD MASTERS GAMES: silver (3m springboard), bronze (1m springboard); 1989 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (1m springboard); 4th (3m springboard); 1990 PAN-AM MASTERS: gold (1m, 3m springboard); 52 UNITED STATES MASTERS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (33), silver (40), bronze (18), 4th (4), 5th (5); COMPETED IN AGE GROUPS 40-44 thru 75-79.
Felix Grossman, pushing 80, has been athletically inclined all of his adult life. Mountaineering, mountain biking, backpacking, windsurfing, cross-country and downhill skiing, water skiing, competitive tennis, and of course, springboard diving.
Grossman, a former diver at Williams (Mass.) College Class of 1956, has kept his body in peak shape to be able to compete in top championships all over the world. He was even able to increase the degree of difficulty of his dives, attempting maneuvers he hadn’t been capable of in college.
Felix has been competing in Master’s diving, now in his fifth decade, competing in 52 U.S. National Masters Championships. During this time he has won 33 USA Masters Diving titles (gold) in eight age groups: 40-44 to 75-79 through 2013. He set a world record when he scored 213.8 points while diving in the 70-74 age group, a record which continues to hold now in its eighth year.
Grossman has competed in seven FINA Masters World Championships, winning two gold, six silver, one bronze medal and a 5th and a 7th place. He has competed in five World Masters Games,winning three gold, three silver, three bronze, and a fourth place.
In 1987, Felix had both of his severely arthritic hips replaced and still beat the field of divers in his age group. This was the first time a diver with two prosthetic hips had won a national championship. In 1992, he won the FINA Masters World Championships with his two replacement hips. In 1998, he had both of his arthritic knees replaced and in 2001, he again won the USA Diving Masters Nationals followed by World Masters Championships in Melbourne winning with four prosthetic joints, two hips and two knees. In 2002, he was featured in Sports Illustrated for his prosthetic joint success. Over the years, his prosthetic advice and recommendations has led to the successful extension of many divers’ careers. As they learned that success on the board does not have to end with bad joints.
In 2004, Grossman was presented with the Bicentennial Medal, an honor bestowed by his alma mater Williams College. “You are an inspiration to the college divers you train with and to the countless inner-city Los Angeles teenagers you have encouraged to set high standards for themselves. Your non-profit organization, Felix Ventures, now works with students at L.A.’s Workman High School to stretch them physically and academically and to challenge them to develop work habits that will help them reach their full potential. It has developed into the school’s largest co-curricular activity, involving each year more than 150 students, almost all of whom will go on to college.”
Beginning in 1975 and for over 30 years, Felix has conducted Masters diving meets in his home state of California as well as serving as a sort of Chaplain, spiritual and motivational spokesperson for the sport.