After sitting in on the REX Roundtables, I headed to the awards presentation and keynote address.
The Associate Member of the Year award went to Balanced Body, which was represented by its president, Ken Endelman. The award, which is presented to a company for its contributions to IHRSA and the fitness industry, went to Balanced Body this year because of its innovation and its commitment to the integrity of Joseph Pilates equipment, which it provides to studios, health clubs, rehabilitation facilities and individual consumers globally, according to IHRSA. Through Balanced Body University, the company provides access to Pilates instructor training programs as well as continuing education opportunities, offering a network of more than 50 educators for assistance with Pilates programming and certification.
In accepting the award, Endelman recalled being at the IHRSA show 10 years ago in a tiny booth when no one wanted to add Pilates to their clubs because they thought it took up too much space and cost too much. Endelman credited the company's Allegro machine as the product that made Pilates more accessible for the club market.
The second award of the evening for the Julie Main Emerging Woman Leader Scholarship went to Jasmine Kirstein, owner of My Sportlady in Munich, Germany. Kirstein opened her club in 1984 as Germany's first women-only club. She was chosen in recognition for her efforts during the past 25 years to enrich the lives of women and children in Germany and throughout the world in a holistic approach to fitness. In receiving the award, Kirstein noted how important reaching out to help others became to her after helping her daughter through her battle with leukemia.
Kent Stevens, president of Matrix, then introduced Chris Berman, ESPN sportscaster. Berman's presentation was funny at times, but seemed to ramble a bit. Still, he recounted the early days of ESPN when he was able to run out of the studio to McDonald's while a taped segment was airing then rush back to continue his on-air time. He also recalled when the station began airing the second half of a taped football game before airing the first half.
Berman said that although we can't all be Olympians, the industry has Olympians in its own way because we have people who are doing their best and helping others become their best. He said that little things can make a big difference, and it often takes perseverance and practice to pull off those things.