Loose Lips

Gray Faces Final Cannonball Opportunity

Mayoral staffers jump as lifeguard Vince Gray looks on in 2013

Lame duck Vince Gray will face another one of the "lasts" of his administration tomorrow when he heads to Ward 8's Fort Stanton Aquatic Facility to kick off pool season. Gray will also be facing a personal landmark, too: his last opportunity to open pool season with a cannonball into the water.

If Gray jumps in tomorrow morning, he'll be following in soggy footsteps of Mayor Tony Williams, who pioneered the summer-starting cannonball:

On June 21, 2006, Anthony Williams took his final cannonball plunge into a D.C. swimming pool as mayor, his traditional way to open the city’s pools for the summer. Williams' two terms as the District's fourth Home Rule-era mayor began with a splash in 1999, when he made his inaugural dive. In 2006, Williams, who earned the nickname "Cannonball," stripped down to his red trunks for one last dip at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center in Brookland. The Washington Post described his final dive as "vintage Williams—neat and precise with nary a wave as he sliced into the pool."

Despite his political rivalry with Adrian Fenty, neither Gray nor his triathlete predecessor continued Williams' tradition. Last year, Gray climbed into the lifeguard booth at Ward 5's Harry Thomas Sr. pool, while his staffers and a few kids jumped in instead.

A press release about Gray's kickoff tomorrow promises "mystery guests," so LL's guessing Gray won't be getting we. Still, don't count Gray out yet. Asked whether Gray would take the plunge, mayoral spokesman Pedro Ribeiro said, "You never know."

Photo by Aaron Wiener

  • DCPeopleWhoThink

    Who really cares about whether or not Gray will jump into the pool w/ a cannonball.

  • itsjustamess

    Gray long ago jumped in way over his head and probably is now drowning in his own tears.

  • E. Masquinongy

    Tony Williams did this right, and we all miss him for it -- as proven by this very article. Too bad the mayors since him did not get it -- "it is undignified", etc........

    I will be enjoying the pool this summer!