There are two Olympic disciplines within Canoe/Kayak: sprint and slalom. Flatwater sprint races are often held at the same venues as Olympic rowing. The London sprint venue is at Eton Dorney, 25 miles west of London. Whitewater slalom courses involve paddlers making their way through rapids around gates, similar to slalom skiing at the Winter Games. The whitewater courses can be natural or completely manmade. The London slalom venue is the Lee Valley Whitewater Centre, 20 miles north of Olympic Park. Both sprint and slalom involve canoes and kayaks, although women’s canoe is not currently part of the Olympic program. Paralympic canoe/kayak was recently voted in for Rio 2016, but will not be part of the London Games.
- Competing with Crohn’s: In 2003, Carrie Johnson was diagnosed with Crohn's disease while rehabilitating a shoulder injury. The illness left her unable to train in the 2003 and 2009 seasons. In the second half of 2003, her condition stabilized and enabled her to train over the winter leading up to her winning the K-1W at the 2004 Olympic Team Trials, earning a trip to Athens by defeating two Olympians. Johnson's favorite quote – "falling in life is unavoidable- staying down is optional" – suggests she has not let the disease keep her from her beloved sport. Johnson returned to compete in the 2010 World Cup circuit.
- Australian Infusion: Brothers Luke and Jake Michael joined the U.S. Men’s Sprint Kayak Team in late 2010, thanks to their mother’s Minnesota roots. The identical twins add punch to an Olympic hopeful K4 sprint boat. The 26-year-old brothers competed together and won medals in K-2 and K-4 at world championships and world cups for Australia. Luke qualified in the K-4 for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games but was unable to compete. Click here for more information.
- Competitive Men’s Slalom Kayak Class: The U.S. has numerous athletes capable of medaling at major international events in the men’s slalom kayak class. Each will be competing against the world and each other for spots at the 2012 Olympic Games. Led by two-time Olympian Scott Parsons, the group also features 2004 Olympian Brett Heyl and Scott Mann. The wild card in the bunch is 17-year-old Michal Smolen. Born in Poland, he is currently unable to compete for the Senior National Team due to citizenship issues, but he led all men’s kayaks at the 2011 U.S. National Slalom Team Trials.
- Carrie Johnson: Two-time Olympian, sprint kayak, has Crohn’s disease – San Diego, Calif.
- Morgan House: 2012 hopeful, sprint kayak, leads the men’s K4 boat and is hoping to qualify at the 2011 world championships in August – Gainesville, Ga.
- Scott Parsons: Two-time Olympian, slalom kayak – Bethesda, Md.
- Benn Fraker: 2008 Olympian, slalom canoe – Peachtree City, Ga.
Slalom events included in the Olympic program are men’s C-1 and C-2 and women and men’s K-1. A National Organizing Committee can qualify a maximum of five slalom boats for the 2012 Games, one for each event. The 2011 U.S. Slalom Team will participate in the upcoming World Cup Final, 2011 World Championships, London 2012 Olympic Test Event and 2012 Pan American Championships. Performances at these events will determine the number of boats Team USA can send to the 2012 Olympic Games.
A NOC can qualify a maximum of 18 sprint boats. Sprint events included in the Olympic program are as follows: Men’s K-1 200m, K-1 1000m, K-2 200m, K-2 1000m, K-4 1000m, C-1 200m, C-1 1000m, and C-2 1000m. Women’s K-1 200m, K-1 500m, K-2 500m, and K-4 500m. The 2011 Sprint World Championship and the 2011 Pan American Games are currently the only two events in which Team USA can qualify sprint boats for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
- July 28-31, 2011: London 2012 Slalom Test Event – Broxbourne, England
- Aug. 12-14, 2011: 2011 Slalom World Cup Final – Prague, Czech Republic
- Aug. 18-21, 2011: 2011 Sprint World Championships – Szeged, Hungary
- Sept. 1-4, 2011: London 2012 Sprint Test Event – Eton, England
- Sept. 7-11, 2011: 2011 Slalom World Championships – Bratislava, Slovakia
- Oct. 13-30, 2011: Pan American Games – Guadalajara, Mexico
- March 10-11, 2012: 2012 Pan American Championships – Foz do Iguassu, Brazil
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