CFE Takes the Blows and Gets Back up in ‘Wipeout'
|Wilson Kennedy, CFE, swings with gusto during the trials of
a summer "Wipeout" TV show.
Wilson Kennedy holds two distinctions as a City of San Diego employee: He is the first to become a CFE and the first to be a contestant on ABC's summer "Wipeout" obstacle course TV show. The credential has helped his career, and the program has tested his resolve.
"I wanted the opportunity to experience the world's most entertaining and challenging obstacle course while appearing on prime-time TV," said Kennedy, the supervising management analyst for the San Diego Public Utilities Department.
You have probably seen this wildly popular show when channel surfing: Contestants move through a course of twirling and thrusting padded plastic wheels, giant balls, platforms and mazes as they are shot with water cannons, pummeled with exploding airbags and often ungracefully fly into pools of water.
"From my couch, being on the show looked like it would be fun, exciting and easy," Kennedy said. After all he was young, had played college and semi-pro football and was still relatively fit. "It was one of the most physically exhausting things I have ever done in my life!"
He auditioned in four casting calls over 1½ years, but he was ready when he got the call. More than 75,000 applied for season four, and he finally was in the 1 percent that made the cut. Now ironically nicknamed "Sewer Rat" by the show's producers — he is a self-described germophobe who helps secure funding for San Diego's water and wastewater projects — he worked out frenetically for three months before the show's taping in May of last year. He ran, biked, swam, jumped rope and lifted weights. Still, after completing the qualifying run, "it must have taken almost an hour before my heavy breathing stopped!"
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