World watches as dragon boat makes history in 2018

“This is a program on the rebound,” said Jim O’Dell, United States regional dragon boat coach, after his team were awarded the Nations Cup at the 2018 ICF Dragon Boat World Championships at Lake Lanier, Atlanta.

“After Moscow two years ago, nobody — these other nations have talked with me — expected us to do this well.”

Team USA shared the closing ceremonies platform with Germany and the Czech Republic as the prestigious event came to a close

Teams from 14 countries raced in dragon boats, which are similar to canoes but longer, seating 12 or 22 people, and in various age groups — junior, senior and master, 40-plus and 50-plus.

There was another big news story in ICF dragon boat in 2018. It was a story much bigger than just dragon boat or sport, it was a significant moment in history.

At the Asian Games in Indonesia, it was decided North and South Korea would join together in several team sports – an idea which would have been deemed crazy just a matter of months beforehand.

But it happened, and it was in dragon boat where the biggest impact was made. A unified Korean women's team won the combined team their first gold medal of the 2018 Asian Games.

The boat, comprising eight athletes from North Korea and four from South Korea, had already made history by winning bronze in the women's 200 metre race in Palembang.

They then followed up with an incredible gold medal in the 500 metres, finishing just ahead of the team from China, with Thailand finishing third.

Koreas' winning time was 2.24.788, China posted 2.25.092, and Thailand 2.26.904.

The unified men's team finished fourth in their 500 metre semi-final and did not make the final.

2018 magazine
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