Eric Hurd (Woodstock, Ga.) and Jeff Larimer (Marietta, Ga.) won the Gold medal and earned a 2012 Olympic boat quota slot for Team USA in the Men’s C-2 final Saturday, March 10, at the 2012 Slalom Pan American Championships in Foz do Iguassu, Brazil.
Links: Complete Results. Saturday Recap.
The duo finished in 107.13, +2.16 seconds ahead of the second place finishers from Brazil. Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.) and Devin McEwan (Salisbury, Conn.) turned in the third best time among eligible boats - 110.90, including two penalty seconds.
Hurd, 25, and Larimer, 30, entered Saturday ranked second among eligible boats after two qualifying heats, trailing the Canadian duo of James and Adam Cutts. Hurd and Larimer moved ahead of the Canadians to finish first with a semifinal time of 105.76, including two penalty seconds.
Hurd and Larimer will still have to compete in order to be named the U.S. athletes to fill the Men’s C-2 boat at London 2012. The 2012 U.S. Olympic Team will be determined by performances at the 2012 Slalom National Team Trials in Charlotte, N.C., April 12-14, and the first stop on the 2012 World Cup circuit.
In 2011, Hurd and Larimer finished 18th at the 2011 World Cup No. 3 and 32nd at the 2011 World Championships.
JEFF LARIMER: “It feels good to qualify the Olympic spot for the U.S. It was a full team effort and it’s good to know that USA will be represented in C2 at London. We were solid on the three runs leading up to the final and even though the fourth run was the only one that counted, we just treated it like any other run and relied on our instincts. The final run was probably our best effort until we had to scramble for the last gate. We lost somewhere around 5 or 6 seconds but it was still enough for the win.
“An Olympic berth is everything. It is the reason we are still doing it after all these years of not making it. Between now and Trials, we plan on hitting the gym and doing as many curls as we can.”
ERIC HURD on how it feels to win the Gold medal and qualify the Olympic slot for Team USA:
“Great. We had a really good training time down here prior to the race and we are just really happy to have pulled through with our plan and get it done.”
HURD on their strategy heading into the Final round:
“Our thoughts leading into the second run were to keep the same pace, pushing hard in the crux moves as we had in the first run. But for the second run, we were going to open up the pace in the flat sections where we were just cruising during the semifinals.”
HURD on their Gold medal-winning run:
“The last run was pretty much what we were asking for until the last gate, where we ended up a bit short in the last offset, causing a few seconds in time plus a touch. From there, we just pushed hard to the finish and hoped for the best. But the fast overall run still gave us the lead.”
HURD on what an Olympic berth would mean to them:
“The Olympic berth means a lot to us and the U.S. team. [We’re] hoping that we can bring a full and strong team to the London Games.”
HURD on their plans for the next five weeks before the 2012 U.S. Olympic Slalom Team Trials:
“Between now and Trials will be a lot of on-the-water training at the USNWC [National Whitewater Center].”
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.