Samuel Ritchie

USA Canoe/Kayak

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Occupation: Full time Princeton University student, flatwater sprint kayaker

Club: Washington Canoe Club

Height: 5′ 10″

Weight: 165

Hobbies: Triathlon, reading, flying (I’m a rated Private Pilot), juggling, blues harp, and watching Lost.

Favorite Foods: PB&J, Steak from the sketchy medieval-themed restaurant in Rosslyn, VA, and grilled chicken… and gallons of milk.

Fun Fact: Though it doesn’t apply to us, it might help someone out there–the key to getting huge is Squats + Milk.

I started kayaking in 4th grade, joining one of my classmates down at the Washington Canoe Club for informal practice in the canoe a few days a week. I wasn’t the best at coordination sports, and the solo aspect of the sport drew me in. I began to improve as more and more athletes joined the program down at the WCC, eventually earning a spot at the National Championships in 1996 as a Bantam and learning as much as I could about racing from the coaches.

In 2000 I won my first medal at the National Championships in the K4 200m, and the next year won the K1 bantam events in both the 500m and the 1000m. I ranked in the top three Junior paddlers in the nation every year until college, attending two Junior World Championships (Komatsu, Japan in 2003 and Szeged, Hungary in 2005) and earning spots on three consecutive US National Teams. I raced both the K1 and K4 in Japan, but by Junior Worlds in Hungary had committed to the K2 with my partner David Petrovics.

I put kayaking aside for a season in 2006 to focus on school–David and I had both earned spots at Princeton University, and were settling down into the long road towards Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering degrees. In ‘07, I decided it was time to pick up the paddle again and convinced Dave to jump back in the K2 with me. We both attended the US National Team Trials in the Spring of 2007 and earned spots on the Pan American Games US Team, once again racing in the K2 over 1000m. We finished 7th in the A-Final, and decided then and there that we would begin to focus long term on a spot at the 2012 Olympics in the K2.