Carrie Johnson Earns Olympic Slot, Two PanAm Gold Medals

Oct. 28, 2011, 5:33 p.m. (ET)


Carrie Johnson (San Diego, Calif.) won her second gold medal in as many days, finishing first in the Women’s K1 200m final at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. The 200m final began with two false starts, adding to the tension for the second to last race of the day. The two-time Olympian trailed Cuban Darisleydis Amador for the first 180 meters, but Johnson was able to maintain her speed and power through to the win. She finished in 41.803, 0.037 seconds ahead of Cuban runner-up.

Johnson earned a gold medal in the 500m on Friday, earning a 2012 Olympic slot for Team USA in Women's individual kayak. She was one of 31 U.S. athletes across all sports to win multiple gold medals at the 2011 Pan American Games.

For complete results, click HERE.


Carrie Johnson, Women’s Kayak:

On earning her second 2011 Pan American gold medal:

“I am very excited. I had a good race this morning. Overall, it's great to have qualified the quota spot and it's a bit of confidence booster to have won both races. It's a great way to end the 2011 season.” 

On earning her thoughts during the 200m final:

“I have been working on holding my offside leg on each stroke and staying relaxed. I was really trying to focus on the technical things I needed to do to paddle well.” 

On her plans for between now and 2012 Team Trials:

“Once we get back to San Diego, I am going to sit down and work on a plan for next year.” 

On if she plans to rest in the next couple of weeks:

“Definitely. It's been a long season and I need to give my body a little bit of rest before I start hard training for next year.”

On if this is a time for celebration or for increased focus:

“I think it's good to take a little bit of time to relax, recover and refocus. Then come back to training ready to go.”

William Irving, USA Canoe/Kayak National Teams Director: “The team overall had a great performance at the Pan Am Games and have continued to make the improvements needed to be successful in the sport. Carrie set the momentum for the team with the gold in the 500m followed by her second gold in the 200m. Both Ryan and Carrie will only get better as they get ready to defend their slots to make the Olympic Team and compete for medals in 2012. Although we only qualified two Olympic placings, overall our team is pretty young and with a lot of hard work and experience they will only continue to develop and get faster.”



Carrie Johnson (San Diego, Calif.) won the gold medal in the Women’s K1 500m final Friday at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. The first place finish guarantees the U.S. a boat quota slot in the event at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Who fills that slot will be determined by performances at the 2012 National Team Trials and the first stop on the 2012 World Cup circuit.

Johnson, a two-time Olympian, led from start to finish en route to a time of 1:54.243, 0.657 seconds faster than runner-up Emilie Fournel of Canada. Argentinean Alexandra Keresztesi won the bronze medal at the Ciudad Guzman Rowing and Canoeing Course. Johnson advanced to the 500m final after recording the third fastest time in Wednesday’s heats. She will also compete in Saturday’s K1 200m final with another Olympic slot on the line. 

Shaun Caven, National Team Coach: “She maintained her race plan all the way down the course and maintained her cool when the other two girls made a push for the line. She held them off like a [potential] three-time Olympian does. Great job.”

Carrie Johnson, Women’s Kayak:

On winning the gold medal and qualifying an Olympic slot:

“I’m really excited about it. It’s what I came down here to do and now I can definitely start looking at planning for next season.”

On her performance in the 500m final:

“I think, technically, it was a really good race. The last 200 meters, I definitely felt the attitude a bit. But I think technically it was a very good race. I was able to be efficient and hold things together technically, and I think that helped finish the race as strong as I could.”

On her improvement from the 500m heat to the final:

“In the heats, I had just done really what I needed to do to advance to the final. It wasn’t an all-out race, and I knew that going into the final, it was going to have to be an all-out effort.”

On being crowned Pan American Champion:

“It is really cool. It feels very good, especially since along with that goes Olympic qualification for the U.S. I think the biggest part is really having that quota spot now.”

On the potential for making her third Olympic Games:

“It would mean one more shot at an Olympic medal, really.”

On her thoughts heading into Saturday’s 200m final:

“One of the things I have been working on is my start. I think I had a much better start this morning than I did in the 200 heat yesterday, so I’m excited to get to go out and race again tomorrow.”

Joe Jacobi, USA Canoe/Kayak CEO: “What a terrific day for Carrie and for USA Canoe/Kayak. You will not find an athlete and person who represents the attributes and values of an Olympian better than Carrie. We couldn’t be more proud of Carrie, not just for winning the Pan Am Games, but for the quality of her pursuit of excellence.”

William Irving, USA Canoe/Kayak National Teams Director: “Carrie had an outstanding race today and continued to prove why she is already a two-time Olympian and a top sprint athlete in the World. We couldn't be more excited for her and all the ladies in the program. Carrie has worked so hard these past two years after having to be out of the sport for a year after Beijing. It's great to see her returning to form.” 

USA Canoe/Kayak is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Canoe Federation. It governs the Olympic disciplines of Flatwater Sprint and Whitewater Slalom and sanctions Freestyle, Marathon, Outrigger, Wildwater, Kayak Polo, Dragon Boat and Canoe Sailing in the United States. For more information about USA Canoe/Kayak, please visit us on the web at and on Facebook and Twitter.