Whitewater Slalom Olympic Roundup
The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games saw fantastic whitewater slalom on a very difficult course. The Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park was a great host for the competition, and provided a very high caliber experience for all involved. USA Canoe/Kayak fielded a full slalom team with 5 athletes representing the United States.
K-1: Scott Parsons (Bethesda, MD) had a fast start to his Olympic campaign with a third place finish to his first run. On his second run, a touch at the top led Parsons to push even harder at the bottom to make up that time and he was called for missing a gate. An inquiry was filed by team leader Angela Lokken, to no avail. The judges ruled that only half of Parsons’ head went through the gate resulting in the 50. This eliminated Parsons from further competition. Going into the competition, Parsons was ranked 9th in the world.
C-1: Benn Fraker (Peachtree City, GA), showed consistent improvement in his two days of competition. Fraker finished the qualifying day 10th, was 8th after his first run, and finished 6th overall in the finals. In the semifinal and finals, Fraker paddled without penalty. This bodes well for the future for the 19 year old that entered the competition ranked 17th in the world.
C-2: Ricky Powell (Parkesburg, PA) and Casey Eichfeld (Drums, PA) began Wednesday’s competition with a strong first run of 101.69 with no penalties. Unfortunately, in the second run they suffered a touch at the top of the course and missed the downstream gate 7 and were hit with a 50 second penalty. These two penalties eliminated them from further competition. As with Fraker, these two young men have very bright paddling futures for the USA team.
K-1-W: Heather Corrie (Grandy, MN) began the competition in 16th place and moved herself into the semifinals and finals. Thursday's competition was delayed due to lightning at the venue and oncoming darkness after Corrie was prepared to make her runs. Brushing that off and sticking with her consistent preparation regimen, Corrie started fast with a 112.51. On the next run, however, Corrie missed gate 5 and had a touch at the bottom ending her day with an 8th place finish.