On Sept. 17-21, 2014, Maryland’s Adventure Sports Center International, the only mountaintop re-circulating whitewater course in the world, will host athletes from over 35 countries for the ICF World Slalom Championships, 25 years after the 1989 World Championship held on Maryland’s Savage River and marking just the second time in history the event has been held in the United States.
“It’s awesome to have the Slalom Worlds in the US again,” says Kent Ford, who competed in the 1989 event and will be announcing this year’s Worlds. “I’ve been watching some of the competitors, and the level of performance today is outrageous.”
Drawing nearly 10,000 spectators daily, in 1989, the event was held on the Savage River, just 30 minutes down the road from the ASCI artificial course. In 1989, U.S. C-1 stars Jon Lugbill and Davey Hearn won six of 24 medals, including two gold. In 2001, the Worlds were slated to be held on Tennessee’s Ocoee River, but they were cancelled due to 9-11. The 2013 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships were held in Prague, Czech Republic.
This year, the world’s premier kayakers and canoeists will descend upon Deep Creek, Maryland, as the Championships return to the United States for the first time in 25 years.
“The atmosphere at the Adventure Sports Center International is already incredible,” says Deep Creek 2014 Executive Director Todd Copley, touting training by athletes from nine different countires. “It should be a great event and bring tremendous international focus to Maryland’s scenic western-most county.”
The event is expected to draw 300 athletes from over 35 countries, 20,000 spectators, and be aired to 21.5 million international broadcast television viewers around the world. Deep Creek, MD hosts the 2014 World Championships and the 2015 Championships will be held in London, England.
“I’m pretty excited and will go there in July for two weeks for training and to see the course,” 2012 K1 Olympic gold medalist Daniele Molmenti from Italy told local press.
The U.S. will be trying to break a World Championship medal drought dating back to 2002, when Rebecca Giddens won the K1 gold in Bourg St. Maurice, France. The last U.S. man to capture a medal at the showcase event was Scott Shipley, who won the silver in K1 in Spain in 1999.
One of the biggest hopes for the U.S this year is Michal Smolen, 20, who took the gold at this year’s Under-23 World Championships in Australia and won his first-ever World Cup medal in Prague in June. Also representing the U.S. will be recent French transplant Fabien Lefevre, 32, a 13-time world championship medalist now in his second season competing for USA Canoe/Kayak.
Who to Watch For/Past Medal Winners
2011 ICF World Championships:
C1 Denis Gargaud (FRA)
C1 Team: Michal Martikan (SVK)
C1W Team: Jessica Fox/Rosalyn Lawrence (AUS)
K1W Corinne Kuhnle (AUT)
C2Team: Denis Gargaud/Fabien Lefevre (FRA)
C2 Denis Gargaud/Fabien Lefevre (FRA)
K1 Mateus Potacyzyk (POL)
K1Team: Fabien Lefevre (FRA)
K1 Daniele Molmenti (ITA)
K1W Emilie Fer (FRA)
K1W Jessica Fox (AUS)
C1 Michal Martikan (SLO)
2013 ICF World Championships:
C1 David Florence (GBR)
C2 David Florence/Richard Hounslow (GBR)
C1 Michal Martikan (SVK)
C1W Jessica Fox (AUS)
C1Team: Jessica Fox/Rosalyn Lawrence (AUS)
K1 Team: Daniele Molmenti (ITA)
K1W Emilie Fer (FRA)
K1W Nouria Newman (FRA)
C1Team: Denis Gargaud/Nicolas Peschier (FRA)
C2 Team: David Florence/Richard Hounsley…Rhys Davies/Matthew Lister (GBR)
C1W Caroline Loir (FRA)