Michal Smolen


Discipline/Event: Canoe Slalom, K1 and C2 with Zach Lokken
Hometown: Gastonia, N.C.
Birthplace: Krakow, Poland
Birthdate: 9/13/1993
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 155lbs
School: Belmont Abbey College
Club: Nantahala Racing Club 
Website: http://michalsmolen.com/

2016 U.S. Olympic Canoe/Kayak Team & U.S. Senior National Team

Career Highlights:
  • 2016 Olympian
  • 2015 World Championships: BRONZE
  • 2015 Pan American Games: GOLD
  • 2015 U.S. National Team Trials: 1st in K1 and 3rd in C2 with Zach Lokken
  • 2014 World Championships: 13th
  • 2014 World Cup No. 3: BRONZE
  • 2014 U-23 World Champion
  • 2012 U.S. National Champion
  • 2012 U-23 World Championships: 5th
  • 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials: 2nd
  • 2010 Junior World Championships: 4th

Recent Results:

  • 2016
    • 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Canoe/Kayak Slalom: 1st in K1 and 2nd in C2 with Zach Lokken
    • Oceana Championships: 39th in K1 and 15th in C2 with Zach Lokken
    • Australian Open: 4th in K1 (GOLD in U23) and 17th in C2 with Zach Lokken (BRONZE in U23)
  • 2015
    • World Cup Final: 39th
    • World Cup No. 4: 43rd
    • World Cup No. 3: 13th in K1 and 27th in C2 with Zach Lokken
    • World Cup No. 2: 43rd
    • World Cup No. 1: 15th
    • U.S. Open: 1st in K1 and 2nd in C2 with Zach Lokken
  • 2014
    • British Open: 4th
    • World Championships: 14th in K1
    • World Cup Final: 28th in K1
    • World Cup No. 4: 12th in K1
    • World Cup No. 1: 37th in K1
    • ICF Junior & U-23 World Championships: GOLD in K1, 22nd in C1
    • U.S. Team Trials: 2nd in K1
    • U.S. Open: 1st in K-1, 5th in C1
    • Oceania Championships: 5th in K1, 12th in C1
  • 2013
    • World Championships: 39th
    • Final World Cup Series Rankings: 34th
    • World Cup Final: 39th, SILVER in Team K1
    • World Cup No. 4: 53rd
    • U-23 World Championships: 18th
    • World Cup No. 2: 20th
    • World Cup No. 1: 14th
    • U.S. Team Trials: 2nd

How He Qualified:

With his 3rd place finish at the 2016 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in London, England, Smolen not only qualified the U.S. an Olympic quota slot in the men's single kayak (K1) event, he also took a dominating lead in the U.S. Olympic Team selection processes. At the first U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Charlotte, NC, Smolen blew away the competition to solidify a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team for the first time.  


  • Nickname: "Meesh"
  • Occupation: Full-time athlete
  • Sponsors: Nantahala Outdoor Center, Galasport, Sandiline, PowerZone Trading
  • Hobbies: Mountain biking, climbing, playing the guitar
  • Quote: "Winning isn't everything, but making the effort to win is."
  • Getting started: My dad, Rafal Smolen, was on the Polish National Team.
  • Role Model: Campbell Walsh because he is what I call a "little beast"
  • Biography: Click here to read Michal’s story and the challenges he faced in becoming an elite level athlete. ~ http://michalsmolen.com/about.html
  • Currently lives and trains in Charlotte, NC at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, a U.S. Olympic Training Site. He is coached by his father, Rafal Smolen. Michal uses a Galasport Sonic Boom kayak, a Galasport Meg paddle, and uses Sandiline gear

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