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This story featured in the 2012 July issue. By Jamie McEwan An observer unfamiliar with the intricacies of the Olympic selection process might have thought Scott Parsons a surprisingly subdued winner of the U.S. Olympic Trials in April. Yes, it was all very nice—congratulations, thank you—but where was the wild celebration, the winner hoisted on […]
From the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup in Prague, C-2 slalom silver medalist David Florence relives Great Britain’s Olympic paddling glory as part of team that took home gold and silver, the nation’s first medals in canoe doubles since the event was first contested at the 1972 Games.
For many slalom athletes, the grueling, three-day Olympic Trials held in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, April 12, through Saturday, April 14, is the most important competition of the quadrennium. Yet the Trials will not finalize the 2012 Olympic Team.
Yesterday the Worlds ended. I’m talking about the 2011 Canoe Slalom World Championships, of course, not the end of everything. (That’s in 2012.) Riding in cars or buses or airplanes back to their homelands today, slalom athletes and coaches are thinking about this year’s racing season, and planning the next.
France’s Denis Gargaud-Chanut and Fabien Lefevre, the silver medalists in Saturday’s C-2 event, made slalom history Sunday by medaling again in their two different singles classes. Lefevre claimed the Bronze Medal in Men’s Kayak, and—in the biggest surprise of these World Championships—Gargaud-Chanut is the 2011 World Champion in C-1 Men.
“Why is this French C-2 team paddling on the same side?” I asked in the caption to my photo in Bratislava #3. Now I know that my guess was wrong: They weren’t “just hacking around.” In the C-2 final Saturday, that same French team—who I discovered is the legendary Fabian Lefevre and his partner Denis Gargaud-Chanut—was the last boat down the course…
It was a disappointing morning for the U.S. paddlers, including for my sentimental favorite, the McEwan and Eichfeld team. The drama of qualifying heats lies not in the placings within the top ten, but “on the bubble”—those paddlers who are just inside or just outside the cutoff.
Was I nervous this morning? Nah. It was just everyday forgetfulness that made me fail to put the battery back into my camera. And if I was completely exhausted after the the first C-2 heat, well, blame jet lag. It had nothing to do with watching my son race in his first World Championships.