It’s crunch time for whitewater slalom athletes who have been training hard for many years to reach the Olympics. This Thursday through Saturday, April 12th-14th, one entrant will earn the opportunity to represent the US in this summer’s London Olympics in each of four whitewater canoe slalom disciplines: men’s single and doubles Canadian canoe (C-1 and C-2) and and men’s and women’s single kayak (K-1). Over these 3 days each entrant will get 2 runs a day on the championship slalom course at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC, three and a half hours from Atlanta. Whose ever top four runs are best in each discipline will get the chance to earn gold in London.
Atlanta area paddlers are among the favorites for three of those four coveted Olympic slots: Benn Fraker in C-1, Jim Wade in K-1, and Eric Hurd and Jeff Larimer in C-2 all have good shots at earning the Olympic entries earned by US paddlers over the past year in their events. Why not go to Charlotte and cheer them on and enjoy three days of top competition? (I can’t cheer or watch the awesome paddling; I’ll be watching the poles, judging gates. So enjoy for me.)
Benn Fraker of Peachtree City, Georgia, winning the Men’s C-1 US 2009 National Championship at the Charlotte National Whitewater Center.
The competition will be held each day from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., leaving plenty of time for those who want to paddle the three whitewater channels; try the mountain bike, jogging and hiking trails; brave the zip lines and rock climbs; or participate in any other of the center’s many attractions. Admission is free. The center has a good restaurant and lounge overlooking the course. The will be live music and fireworks Saturday night after the awards ceremonies. See for details: http://usnwc.org/2011/12/2012-u-s-olympic-trials-for-whitewater-slalom/ .
Hope to see you there,
April 7, 2012