Olympic legends qualify for Rio

GAINESVILLE, GEORGIA (May 20, 2016) – Four-time Olympic medalist Adam van Koeverden has qualified for his fourth Olympic Games. van Koeverden, of Oakville, ON, secured his spot by winning the Men’s K1 1000m at the Pan American Canoe Sprint Championships and Continental Olympic Qualifier on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia.

“The route to get to this point, to get qualified, has bee longer than it’s ever been for me,” said van Koeverden after his race. “It was a hard and stressful morning. I did what I had to do and there are a lot of improvements that have to happen in the next few months for me to be satisfied with a good Olympic performance. I’ll be using the World Cups as a stepping stone to the Olympics and I’m anticipating being able to paddle well in Racice and Portugal.”
 
Oldershaw wins to take next step toward qualification
 
Moments later, teammate Mark Oldershaw (Burlington, ON) continued the Canadian winning streak and qualifying another quota spot in the Men’s C1 1000m. The win puts Oldershaw, an Olympic bronze medalist, in a good position to qualify for the Olympic Games but his status is not certain yet. Ben Tardioli (Ottawa, ON) will compete in the the Men’s C1 200m tomorrow morning and Canada can only send one athlete in Men’s C1. If Tardioli also wins the continental qualifier, the decision of which event to prioritize will be based on World Cup performances.
 
“It was a really good race and a really good lead in to the World Cups,” Oldershaw said. “It was a strong tailwind so I knew I had to get out fast and take control of the race. I got a spot for Canada and I just have to go over to World Cups and perform well there and hopefully get that nomination.”
 
Women’s K2 continues qualifying streak
 
The success continued with Canada winning a third qualifier race today. Genevieve Orton (Lake Echo, NS) and Kathleen (KC) Fraser (Oakville, ON) landed first place in the Women’s K2 500m to earn Canada another two athlete quota spots. The crew to fill those spots will be determined at National Team Trials 2 in Montreal from June 24-26.
 
Solid medal haul in Junior and non-qualifier Senior events
 
Lissa Bissonnette (Sherbrooke, QC) won gold in the Senior Women’s K1 500m event. Canada already qualified an Olympic quota spot in that event at last year’s World Championships so Bissonnette was racing only for glory.
 
Both of Canada’s Junior K4’s made the podium. The Junior Women’s K4 500m crew of Jane Girgulis (Calgary, AB), Emma Mitchell (Winnipeg, MB), Jewelia Orlick (Chelsea, QC) and Grace Whebby (Dartmouth, NS) won gold. In the Junior Men’s K4 500m, the crew of Christian Sprang (Oakville, ON), Olivier Courchesne (Trois-Rivières, QC), Aidan Messenger (Oakville, ON) and Paul Lapierre (Dartmouth, NS) won bronze.
 
In 200m action Ryan Cochrane (Windsor, NS) and Étienne Morneau (Québec, QC) won their opening heat to advance directly to tomorrow’s final. They will race the final tomorrow at 11:40 a.m. where a win will earn two more Canadian athlete quota spots. Marc-Alexandre Gagnon (Trois-Rivières, QC) also won his heat in the Senior Men’s K1 200m to advance to tomorrow’s final.

Canoe Sprint
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