US Olympic Canoeing Team 2012: Updated News & Analysis for America's Squad
The U.S. Olympic canoe/kayak team has not had much of a presence on the world stage in the last 20 years or so. Its last Olympic medal was in 2004, but the last time the U.S. won gold was in 1988.
Seven boaters have qualified for the 2012 Games wearing red, white and blue out of a maximum of 18 athletes. Nearly all of them have just barely qualified as well.
Waters will be rough for the U.S. canoeing team in London, but let's look at the team and its chances in some more detail.
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London will be Scott Parsons' third consecutive Olympics. He finished sixth in 2004 and 20th in 2008 after a penalty kept him out of the final heat. This will be his final Olympic Games appearance, and he will compete in the men's K-1 slalom event.
Like Parsons, Carrie Johnson will make her third Olympic appearance in a row in London. She finished 10th in 2004 and failed to qualify for the final heat in 2008. Her training since Beijing has been interrupted by a battle with Crohn's disease, but she has learned how to manage it and still train. She will compete in the women's K-1 sprint event in London.
Men's C-2 slalom: Eric Hurd and Jeff Larimer.
Men's C-1 slalom: Casey Eichfeld.
Women's K-1 slalom: Caroline Queen.
Men's K-1 sprint: Tim Hornsby.
US Chances and Challengers in London
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American chances are slim in canoeing this year.
Other nations have some impressive pedigree in the sport, including Spain's David Cal (pictured), who is chasing his fifth Olympic medal. Britain's Ed McKeever is known as "Usain Bolt in a boat" for his penchant for breaking canoe sprint world records.
For the U.S., C-2 slalom pair Eric Hurd and Jeff Larimer have likely the best chance to take a medal. They won the 2012 Pan American Championships and U.S. Open competition.
However, those are the kinds of competitions the U.S. athletes are winning — national and regional races. Others have won and are winning worldwide competitions. There's a big difference.
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Best U.S. Olympic Results: The most recent medal won by an American was Rebecca Giddens’ silver in 2004. The last gold was in 1988, when Greg Barton won two and Norman Bellingham won one. All time, the U.S. has won five gold, five silver and six bronze medals.
Qualification History: Multiple American athletes have qualified for each Summer Games in canoeing.
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The U.S. has won two Olympic gold medals in canoeing in the last 20 years. The program isn't very strong in this country right now.
Scott Parsons and Carrie Johnson (pictured) are making their third Olympic appearances, and other American qualifiers have been to the Olympics before and not made much of a mark. Americans often make it to the finals but not any farther.
This year will be no different.