Casey Eichfeld reacts after a run in the C1 men's final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Whitewater Stadium on Aug. 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
Three-time Olympian Casey Eichfeld scored his first podium finish in a major international race Saturday by winning the bronze medal in men’s single canoe at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup Final in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
After winning the semifinal run earlier in the day, Eichfeld laid down a penalty-free run to post a score of 76.90 in the final, 2.45 seconds off the winning score of 74.45 by Benjamin Savsek of Slovenia. Slovakia’s Alexander Slafkovsky was second with a 75.09. Eichfeld just edged out Adam Burgess of Great Britain, who had a score or 77.05.
The podium finish is a breakthrough for the 26-year-old, whose best previous finish at a major international race was fourth at the 2015 world championships. A double gold medalist at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, Eichfeld raced both the men’s single and double canoe at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after competing in the single canoe at the London 2012 Olympic Games and the double canoe at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games with Rick Powell.
Eichfeld’s bronze marked the first world cup medal by an American in the event in over a decade.
In men’s single kayak, Michal Smolen placed ninth with a score of 83.98, which included a two-second gate touch penalty. He was 14.09 seconds off the winning score of Slovenia’s Peter Kauzer, who posted a 69.89.
Eichfeld will return to the course Sunday with Olympic teammate Devin McEwan to compete in the semifinal round of the men’s double canoe.