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Flatwater Canoeing Champions for Kids to Aspire to

18 March 2024

For any child starting out in a sport, some champions have been there before, put in the training and made it to the very top. These icons are so important to inspire kids to carry on and believe in themselves.

Becoming an elite flatwater canoeist takes hard work, perseverance, time, and commitment. Many times your child will want to give up or take a step back, especially after a gruelling training session. However, having the endurance to see it’ll all be worth it is so important, and having champions will help bring your child to reality. It will remind them that giving up isn’t what they want. 

So if your child loves flatwater canoeing, here are some champions that have made it to the top.

Daniel Atkins, UK

At only 18 years old, Dan decided to focus entirely on paddle sports fairly recently and is currently enjoying his first year on the Performance Programme. Over the past few years, he has gained the titles of Junior European Championship and Junior World Championship. He is a shining example of how, when you put your mind to something, you can achieve at a young age and compete in some of the world’s top competitions.

Lisa Carrington, New Zealand

Lisa Carrington of New Zealand is one of the country's most decorated canoe champions, often called The Canoe Queen. Her first Olympics was in London 2012, and through her career has achieved 5 Olympic golds, and at only 33 years old, she has achieved so much with sheer hard work and determination.

Gert Fredriksson, Sweden

Gert Fredriksson is known to be the best men’s canoe athlete of all time. Although he is no longer with us, over his 12-year canoeing career, he became a 6-time Olympic gold medallist, winning most of the single sprint categories and beating almost every other canoeist he came up against. His inspiration, drive and dedication took him to the top, and he retained his title for many years.

Birgit Fischer, Germany

Birgit Fischer is another of the world’s top canoeists who earned her title by becoming an 8-time Olympic champion. She’s considered the world’s best canoeist of all time due to her dedication and achievement. Her career spanned so long that she became the world's youngest canoeist at age 18 and also the oldest at 42 when she won gold in the 500m sprint as part of her team. No other athlete continued for as long as she did and achieved as many medals.

Liam Heath, UK

Surrey-born Liam Heath is the UK’s most successful canoeist winning 4 gold medals and competing in individual and team events. At 25, he was invited to train with team GB, as the Olympic committee introduced the 200m sprint to the sporting event. In 2017 he competed in European Championships in Bulgaria, the K1 200m event, where he retained his world title and world record of 33.380. He remains at the top even today.

Photo by Patrick Case

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