Meet Our USA Canoe/Kayak Olympians
2012 U.S. Olympic Team Media Guide
To download the 2012 USA Canoe/Kayak Olympic Media Guide in its entirety click here.
The 2012 U.S. Olympic Canoe/Kayak Team will consist of seven athletes competing in seven events. Those events are:
- Sprint - women’s single kayak (K1) 500m Carrie Johnson
- Sprint - women’s single kayak (K1) 200m Carrie Johnson
- Sprint - men’s single kayak (K1) 200m Tim Hornsby
- Slalom - women’s single kayak (K1) Caroline Queen
- Slalom - men’s single kayak (K1) Scott Parsons
- Slalom - men’s single canoe (C1) Casey Eichfeld
- Slalom - men’s double canoe (C2) Eric Hurd & Jeff Larimer
Venue: Lee Valley White Water Centre
Dates: Sunday, July 29 - Thursday, August 2
Venue: Eton Dorney
Dates: Monday August 6 - Saturday August 11
U.S. Press Officer
There are two Olympic disciplines within canoe/kayak: flatwater sprint and
whitewater slalom. Flatwater sprint races are often held at the same venues as
Olympic rowing. The London 2012 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 London
2012 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
ABOUT USA CANOE/KAYAK
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
Facebook at Facebook.com/usacanoekayak.
THE QUALIFICATION PROCESS
The first 2012 Olympic boat quota slots were earned for Team USA by kayakers
Scott Parsons and Caroline Queen at the 2011 Slalom World Championships in
Slovakia in September, which was the first Olympic qualification event. The rest
of the U.S. boats were earned at last chance qualification events. The U.S.
earned two sprint kayak slots for London while at the 2011 Pan American Games
in Mexico in October. Only a Gold medal at the 2012 Slalom Pan American
Championships in Brazil in March would do for the U.S. to earn Olympic slots for
singles and doubles canoe. Team USA did just that, qualifying the maximum
number of slalom boats - four - for the 2012 Games.
THE SELECTION PROCESS
Sprint kayaker Carrie Johnson was the first canoe/kayak athlete named to the
2012 U.S. Olympic Team. She booked her ticket to London with a first place
finish in the Women’s Kayak 500m race at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in
Oklahoma City on April 20. Tim Hornsby was faster than Ryan Dolan in the
Men’s Kayak 200m at World Cup No. 2 in Duisburg, Germany in May, to earn the
lone men’s sprint spot. All four 2012 Olympic slalom boats (and five athletes)
were selected at the Slalom World Cup No. 1 in Cardiff, Wales in June.
- Carrie Johnson will enter a four-year veterinary program at the University of California-Davis immediately after returning from London.
- Carrie Johnson was a gymnast for many years before a broken arm led her to a switch in sports.
- Tim Hornsby’s girlfriend Becky Holliday will also be in London, competing for Team USA in the pole vault.
- Tim Hornsby is the first Olympian produced by the Lanier (Ga.) Canoe and Kayak Club, which is based at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic venue.
- Caroline Queen took off the past Spring semester from Davidson College to focus on Olympic qualification but has arranged to earn credits working on projects while travelling.
- Caroline Queen became the youngest woman to make a U.S. Slalom National Team at age 15.
- Casey Eichfeld uses dancing as a cross-training activity to improve balance and flexibility.
- Casey Eichfeld was the youngest solo competitor at a U.S. Slalom National Championships at age eight.
- Scott Parson’s wife Lauren Bixby also paddled competitively, making a U.S. Junior Team before injuries cut her career short.
- Eric Hurd has been referred to by everyone as “Butter” since 1999.
- Jeff Larimer is a carpenter.
- USA Canoe/Kayak CEO Joe Jacobi won the Gold medal in slalom doubles canoe at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.
Sprint to the Finish: The 200-meter distance will be making its Olympic debut
for men’s sprint kayak and canoe, replacing the 500-meter races. It brings the
“fastest paddler in the world” element to the sport, similar to track and field. Also,
the spectators can see the race develop from start to finish, usually lasting 35
Competing with Crohn’s: Carrie Johnson, 28, was diagnosed with Crohn's
disease in 2003, while rehabilitating a elbow injury. The illness left her unable to
train in the 2003 and 2009 seasons. Johnson was accepted into the UC-Davis
School of Veterinary Medicine and will begin the four-year program immediately
upon returning from London. She has decided that the 2012 Games will be her
Is Third Time the Charm? Scott Parsons, 32, hasn’t decided yet whether the
2012 Games will be his final run at an Olympic medal. He placed 6th at the
Athens 2004 Olympic Games and one crucial error knocked him out of medal
contention in 2008. He emerged as the most consistent U.S. slalom paddler
during the 2012 Olympic selection process. Men’s Slalom Kayak is one of the
most competitive disciplines in the U.S. but Parsons outlasted a number of
challengers. The veteran paddler hopes his steady hand will lead to the elusive
Going It Alone: Casey Eichfeld, 22, returns for his second Olympic Games. But
this time, he’ll be paddling solo as the U.S. representative in Slalom Single
Canoe (C1). In 2008, an 18-year-old Eichfeld competed for Team USA with
partner Rick Powell in Doubles Canoe (C2). Prior to both Olympics, Eichfeld
waited until the last possible race to take the lead in U.S. Olympic selection
points and clinch the spot on the Olympic Team. He finished second in the 2012
Olympic selection process in C2.
A True Student-Athlete: Caroline Queen, 20, is a sophomore at Davidson
College in North Carolina, a short drive from the U.S. National Whitewater Center
and site of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Slalom Team Trials. She took the Spring 2012
semester off from school to focus on Olympic qualification. She plans to enroll in
medical school after completing her undergraduate studies. She cross-trains as a
member of the Davidson club field hockey team. She attempted to qualify for the
2008 Games at 16 years of age. Even now, she’s 13 years younger than Olympic
teammate Scott Parsons.
Like Fathers, Like Sons: Eric Hurd, 26, and Jeff Larimer, 31, are both following
in the wake of their paddling fathers, Mike Hurd and Mike Larimer. The elder
Hurd and Larimer trained with each other on the Chattahoochee River just north
of Atlanta. Mike Hurd was also a high school All-American basketball player.
Mike Larimer narrowly missed out on paddling for Team USA at the 1992
Olympic Games, but he was able to coach the U.S. Canoe/Kayak Team at the
Atlanta 1996 Olympics. Surprisingly, their sons have only recently joined forces
in doubles canoe. But the duo quickly established themselves as the best C-2
boat in North and South America with a Gold medal at the 2012 Pan American
Four Years Wiser: Tim Hornsby, 26, attended the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
as a training partner for U.S. Olympian Rami Zur. Hornsby, 26 returns to the
Olympic stage - this time as an Olympian - after outlasted teammates Zur and
Ryan Dolan in the long 2012 selection process. Joining Hornsby in London will
be his girlfriend Becky Holliday, who qualified for her first Olympics in pole
vaulting. Hornsby is the first Olympian produced by the Lanier Canoe and Kayak
Club, which has won 10 National Championships. Lake Lanier hosted the
canoe/kayak and rowing events at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games.
Others to Watch: Slovakia has been dominant in slalom paddling of late. Both
the men’s doubles and single canoe boats will look to continue their dominance
in London. Twins Pavol and Peter Hochschorner hope to earn their fourth straight
Olympic Gold medal, while Michal Martikan will race for his fifth Olympic medal in
five Games. Sprint kayaker Tim Brabants, from Great Britain, plans to ride the
home course advantage to his fourth medal in three Olympic Games. In between
Games, Brabants took time off to complete medical school and is an emergency
ALL-TIME OLYMPIC MEDAL COUNTS
Canoe/Kayak - Both Sprint and Slalom
SILVAN POBERAJ 2012 U.S. Olympic Slalom Team Coach:
Poberaj is the longest tenured national team coach that USA Canoe/Kayak has ever had, signing on with Team USA in 1994. London 2012 will be his fifth Olympics as coach of the United States. Born in Slovenia, he coached the Slovenian Olympic Team in 1992, adding a sixth Games to his resume.
RAFAL SMOLEN 2012 U.S. Olympic Slalom Team Coach:
Smolen joined USA Canoe/Kayak in 2011 as its Slalom National Development and Coaching Manager. In that capacity, he worked with Poberaj to coordinate training camps, selection procedures and adherence to the high performance plan, all with an eye toward success at the international level. The Polish-born coach previously coached the Nantahala Racing Club in Western North Carolina. He coached numerous U.S. Senior and Junior National Teams, including the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team. He coached the Canadian National Slalom Team in 2005 and the 2008 Chilean Olympic Team. His 18-year-old son, Michal, is competed for the U.S. at 2012 World Cups No. 2 and 3.
STEIN JORGENSEN 2012 U.S. Olympic Sprint Team Coach:
The two-time U.S. Olympic kayaker will coach at his first Olympic Games in London. He coached the U.S. National Team during the 2008 and 2010 seasons and has served as 2012 Olympian Carrie Johnson’s personal coach on and off since 2005. Jorgensen didn’t begin paddling flatwater sprint until his late 20s, but within seven years, he won the World Championships in 200m Kayak Doubles in 1995. He raced 500m Kayak Doubles at the 1996 Games and at the 200 Games, he raced 500m Kayak Singles and placed fourth in 1,000m Kayak Fours. Jorgensen currently works full-time as a firefighter with the Chula Vista Fire Department.
SHAUN CAVEN 2012 U.S. Olympic Sprint Team Manager/Coach:
A native of Castle Douglass, Scotland, Caven coached the 2008 British Olympic Canoe/Kayak Team, which featured a gold medalist in kayaker Tim Brabants. Before that, Caven coached the Scottish National Team from 1997 to 2001 and the British Junior Team from 2001 to 2005. In 2009, Caven set up shop in Oklahoma City, where he serves as head coach for the OKC National High Performance Center and the Oklahoma City University varsity kayak program. He coached Team USA at the 2009 World Championships.
WILLIAM IRVING, Olympic Team Leader/National Teams Dir.
GERALD BABAO, Operations Director
JOE JACOBI, Chief Executive Officer
To download the 2012 USA Canoe/Kayak Olympic Media Guide in its entirety click here.