Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2010 Junior World Championships Foix, France

Sitting in the back of Toby, the little red Skoda Fabia car that I rented about a month ago, I realize that the four-day affair that was the 2010 Junior World Championships is over.  Hailey, Jean, and I are making our last cross European drive from Foix, France back to Prague, Czech Republic to catch flights home tomorrow morning.

Every single US athlete raced their heart out and made us proud this weekend.  Hailey Thompson stood on the podium at the end of the weekend finishing in third place.  This marks the first time that a US C1 woman has ever been on the podium at a fully contested international event.  Michal Smolen, in control of his race all weekend, finished fourth in the men’s kayak division.  Peter Lutter and Simon Ranagan finished 41st and 51st places respectively in the men’s kayak as well.  In the men’s C1 class, Tyler Hinton finished 12th, Zach Lokken finished 30th, and Liam Malakoff finished 35th.  Caroline Queen finished 26th in the women’s K1.  All of our athletes defied expectations!

Watching all of the kids from around the world race this weekend was a privilege and an honor.  While we may not have won the most medals, I am proud to say that I was a part of Team USA.  That group of athletes, coaches, parents, and support was one of the best groups I have ever been a part of. 

Not only are all of our kids great athletes, but wonderful people.  For two weeks I got to watch these kids grow and learn.  All of them had been abroad before, but for many this was their first international paddling experience.  I got to watch them make friends both with each other and with kids from other countries.  They learned what it is like to paddle with 40 boats on the water each training session.  And they learned how to be independent and responsible.

It is for all of these kids, their love for kayaking, and the experiences they can have through it that we as a community support them.

Congrats Team USA on an amazing trip and successful race!

P.S. I wrote this yesterday while I was actually in the car, but couldn’t find internet to post it.  Sorry for being a day late.

Michal Smolen, Liam Malakoff, Hailey Thompson, Peter Lutter, Caroline Queen, Bug Lokken, Simon Ranagan (Not Pictured: Tyler Hinton)                    

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