Do or Die for U.S. Olympic Canoes

Last Chance for U.S. Athletes to Qualify for London 2012 Games

Casey Eichfeld, one of the top American C-1 and C-2 contenders for the London 2012 Olympics, trains in Foz do Iguassu, Brazil. Photo: William Irvin/ USA Canoe/Kayak

It’s decision time for the men’s U.S. slalom canoe team. This weekend’s Pan American Championships in Foz do Iguassu, Brazil, will be the last chance for the six men’s U.S. C-1 and C-2 paddlers to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The U.S. has already qualified for one Olympic slot in both the men’s and women’s slalom kayak categories, as well as in the men’s and women’s single sprint boat categories–but as of yet, the U.S. canoe athletes haven’t managed to lock-down a spot in the upcoming XXX Olympiad. And they’ll have to finish first in men’s C-1 and C-2 this weekend in order to do it.

Casey Eichfeld, one of the U.S.’s top C-1 and C-2 contenders, says he’s pumped and ready for this next, and potentially final, round. “The Pan Ams have a lot of pressure on them,” he says.  “But I am going to race my best and leave it all on the course.”

The competition will be tough, as Eichfeld’s fellow U.S. team paddler Devin McEwan says in his recent NPR interview, but USA Canoe/Kayak CEO, Joe Jacobi, claims he’s  confident in the team’s abilities to qualify the remaining positions needed to field a full Slalom Team for London. We’re hoping he’s right. Go U.S.A.!

Stay tuned to C&K online for the final results this Sunday, and in the meantime, check out Jamie McEwan’s coverage of the 2011 Canoe Slalom World Championships in Bratislava, Slovakia.

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