Place: 6th out of 8 boats in her Semifinal
Attendance: Sold out, more than 20,000
Three-time Olympian Carrie Johnson (San Diego, Calif.) started strong in her K1 500m Semifinal Tuesday, but faded and was unable to advance. She was the first to reach the 200-meter mark and the third to hit 250 meters. But she was passed by three additional paddlers for a 6th place finish.
(see below for QUOTES)
The fast start bodes well for Friday’s K1 200m race, which Johnson and Tim Hornsby (Atlanta, Ga.) will both race in. Johnson placed as high as 9th in the 200-meter distance on the 2012 World Cup circuit.
Johnson finished her Semifinal in 1:54.628, +2.396 seconds behind the race’s first place finisher - Beijing 2008 Silver medalist Josefa Idem of Italy. The Top 8 K1 boats across the three Semifinal races advance to Thursday’s Final. The Next 8 boats qualify for the B Final. Johnson’s time was 0.508 seconds from qualifying for the B Final.
Johnson finished 4th in her heat, and 9th overall, with a time of 1:53.983.
Johnson on her semifinal run:
“I had a really good start, I just wasn’t able to keep it going the whole way. It’s disappointing not to advance, but I can walk away from that race knowing that I put everything that I had into it. With the way the start went, I’m really looking forward to racing the 200[-meter event] in a couple days. That’s been the event that I’ve been better at this year and, personally, that I do like the best out of the two. I’m looking forward to racing that, and I think that the start that I had in this race, if I can do that again, I will set myself up well for that event.”
“It felt technically pretty solid. Right now, there’s just a lot of strong female paddlers right now, which is good for the sport. But it’s definitely good, hard racing out there.”
Johnson on if the 500m helps prepare her for the 200m:
“Yeah, I think you learn something from every race that you do. Going into the 200[-meter], I will have had two more starts on these start gates with the starter and two more races under my belt, so I think it definitely helps. Everything helps.”
Johnson on if her fast start bodes well for the 200m:
“The start is always important, but it’s especially important in the 200[-meter] when you don’t really have much time at all to make up for anything that happens off the start. The start is real important with that. It’ll be important to get the rate up, but have a technically solid pace.”
Johnson on if she’s more suited to the 200m:
“Ever since I was young, I’ve been a strong sprinter. Before these Games, it wasn’t an Olympic event. The 200[-meter] wasn’t necessarily something you focused on. I think naturally I’m better at the sprinting events than the distance [events].”
“No matter who’s racing, it’s going to come down to me putting together the best race that I can. That’s really what I’m working on.”
2012 U.S. Olympic Sprint Team Coach Stein Jorgensen on Johnson’s semifinal run:
“Carrie had a fantastic start. Her start in the heat wasn’t so good, but she was first out of the blocks, first to the 200-meter mark. She’s on the tough side of the course. We’ve got a side wind today, and, unfortunately, nobody from her side of the course has qualified this morning at all. That’s the luck of the draw and that’s racing, but she raced her heart out, she had a great race. You couldn’t ask for anything more. Even when she finished, she wasn’t upset.”
Jorgensen on Johnson falling behind during the last 250 meters:
“She went out hard in the first half, which makes it harder in the second half, but you can see the flags, they’re blowing straight out. So Lanes 7 and 8 get protection from the stands. She’s in Lane 2 on the opposite side of the course, so she’s getting some of that side wind and it’s been affecting all of the races. That’s just what happens in racing when you race outside.”
Jorgensen on Johnson’s reaction:
“She’s happy with her performance, absolutely. With her effort level and everything, she couldn’t have given anything more. Her preparation was good, the race plan was good. It’s just unfortunate circumstances where she ended up. It’s an outdoor sport, which makes it tough. This is the Olympics, there are people who won two World Cups that didn’t make the final this morning. That’s what happens.”
Jorgensen on Johnson’s chances in the 200m:
“Things are looking good for the 200[-meter], because she got out very well and she’s a natural sprinter. We’re looking for better results in the 200[-meter].”
Three-time Olympian Carrie Johnson (San Diego, Calif.) took a very business-like approach to the London 2012 Games. She trained in Pusiano, Italy in the weeks leading up the her races and passed on attending the Opening Ceremonies. Immediately after she’s finished competing, Johnson will head back to California to begin the four-year veterinary program at UC-Davis.
She’s been through the pomp and circumstance in Beijing and Athens. In London, she’s got just on objective in mind.
Johnson will give it another shot in the Women’s K1 500m Tuesday at Dorney Lake. She barely missed out on qualifying for the Final at both Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004. This time, she hopes to not only reach the Final, but medal.
Johnson qualified for the Final in her most recent outing, a 9th place finish in K1 200m at the 2012 World Cup No. 2 in Duisburg, Germany. She finished 15th and 21st in the K1 500m at the 2012 World Cups Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
Johnson earned the Olympic boat quota slot for Team USA with a Gold medal in the 500m at the 2011 Pan American Games and then clinched the spot for herself by winning the 500m race at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
Johnson will go up against 24 of the world’s best kayakers in the 500m heats. All three 2008 Olympic medalists in the event return - Inna Osypenko-Radomska of Ukraine (Gold), Josefa Idem of Italy (Silver), and Katrin Wagner-Augustin of Germany (Bronze). Danuta Kozak of traditional sprint powerhouse Hungary is another one to watch for after winning Silver at both the 2011 World Championships and 2012 European Championships.
Sprint racing began Monday morning with 1000-meter races, for which the U.S. did not qualify.
Beginning Friday, Johnson and Tim Hornsby (Atlanta, Ga.) will both race in the 200m event, which makes its introduction as an Olympic distance at the 2012 Games.
Johnson on the difference between the 500m and 200m races:
“You definitely have to pace yourself more in the 500[-meter] than you would in the 200. Basically, the middle 250 of the race is more [for] pacing yourself. You can't go all flat out for 500 meters.”
“It's basically getting the boat off the start and then keeping the boat running at the highest speed that you're able to. It's a different type of 'all out', but both of them have an 'all out' component in them.”
USA Canoe/Kayak CEO Joe Jacobi on Johnson:
“This week, Olympic fans will get to know one of Team USA’s inspiring Olympians and top ambassadors in Carrie Johnson. Her dedication to the sport, humble pursuit of excellence and respect for the Olympic spirit personifies the very best of the Games, on and off the field of play.”
USA Canoe/Kayak is a non-profit membership organization based in Oklahoma City, OK, promoting canoe and kayak racing in the United States. A member of the United States Olympic Committee, USA Canoe/Kayak is the national governing body for the Olympic sports of Flatwater Sprint and Whitewater Slalom and the official U.S. federation of the International Canoe Federation. Other paddling sports sanctioned by USACanoe/Kayak include Marathon, Freestyle, Wildwater, Stand Up Paddleboard, Canoe Polo, Canoe Sailing, Outrigger, and Dragon Boat. For more information about USA Canoe/Kayak, please visit us on the web at www.usack.org, on Twitter at @usacanoekayak and Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/USACanoeKayak.