The Rio 2016 Olympics are well underway and the whitewater paddling action is quickly peaking this week. Preliminary heats in the men’s canoe as well as the men’s and women’s kayak whitewater slalom competitions have now concluded. An elite pack of Olympians move one step forward in their medal aspirations, while the rest are left to witness from the stands at Rio de Janeiro’s Deodoro Olympic Whitewater Stadium (check out contributor/racer Aaron’s Mann’s take on the course, shot from his POV, above). The C-1 men’s competition has already concluded and a champion crowned, as Denis Gargaud Chanut of France captured gold and American Casey Eichfeld finished in the top 10 at seventh place. With the impressive finish, Eichfeld now moves on to cheering his fellow members of the U.S. slalom team, as all have progressed past the preliminary heats, as well as hitting the course himself once again with Devin McEwan in the C-2 on Thursday.
Here is a complete rundown on the remainder of this week’s whitewater action:
Semifinal 12:30 p.m. EST
Final 2:15 p.m. EST
U.S. kayaker Michal Smolen remains in the medal hunt entering the starting gate for the men’s K-1 semifinal. Smolen placed 10th in the heats and will be looking to improve his performance in order to ensure a place later in the day for a shot at the podium. Smolen will have some tough competition as he is joined by competitors such as cross-discipline extraordinaire Mike Dawson of New Zealand who posted an eighth-place time, as well as 2015 world champ Jiri Prskavec of the Czech Republic, just ahead of Dawson in seventh with a run of 88.71 seconds. Leading the field heading into semis is Olympic rookie Giovanni De Gennaro of Italy who posted an 86.85.
Semifinal 11:30 a.m. EST
Final 1:15 p.m. EST
C-2 Duo Casey Eichfeld and Devin McEwan finished the heats in 10th place. They will need to maintain their position or speed things up to be certain they land in the startlist for finals. Meanwhile, the 2012 silver medalists David Florence and Richard Hounslow of Great Britain advanced in the third-place position with the French pair of Gauthier Klauss and Matthieu Peche in second, and the fastest time of 100.89 seconds following the heats belonging to the Slovakian cousins Ladislav and Peter Skantar.
Semifinals 12:15 p.m. EST
Finals 2 p.m.
Ashley Nee is making her much awaited Olympic debut count, moving on to the semifinal in ninth place following the preliminary rounds. One of the heavy favorites in women’s K-1, Australian Jessica Fox, hasn’t hesitated to make her medal hopes known, moving forward to the next round in second place, while another Italian paddler, Stefanie Horn, dominates the top spot after the heats, providing her the opportunity to watch the performances of Fox and the rest of the field before leaving the starting gate last in the semifinal.