This is the second in a series of posts describing the journey from print to digital supported by print in the world of canoe slalom. Last week’s post described the shift from copy and paste using scissors and glue to blogging. Today’s post builds on how micro-blogging is taking live race commentary on-line.

@gregiej on Twitter at the Prague Worlds 2013

@gregiej on Twitter at the Prague Worlds 2013

As outlined in last week’s post. I have been able to use blogging is a valuable mechanism to deliver content, however it is not so easy to do continuous live updates. This is where Twitter described as a micro-blogging platform has proved excellent. At the Deep Creek Worlds I posted more than 1,000 Tweets across the 5 race days. It was amusing for me to see the race commentary and media using the Tweets as a source of their facts and race information.

Twitter as well as Instagram and Facebook have opened a new world to journalism. I can obtain immediate quotes, insights, photographs, reactions from the canoe slalom community at a race; athletes, competitors, teams, officials and their family. I commented on Jess Fox’s apparent tweet as she prepared to start in C1W in Deep Creek. She alleged it was sent earlier than it appeared! Klauss & Peche (FRA) were also pictured taking and posting a selfie on the start.

I have been so excited to hear people I have never met are following live race tweets, including streaming on a screen at the gym so they can follow the race. has embedded my Twitter feed in its liveresults page. It continues to be an absolute race to find fast ways to post as the results can change so fast. Every tweet should include an agreed hastag. We used #canoeslalomworldcup through the 2014 World Cup races and agreed upon #DeepCreek2014 for the Worlds. I am pleased to see the ICF has now recommended a series of hastags with #ICFslalom for canoe slalom.

I have also developed a structure for the Tweets themselves with a consistent convention for example posting immediate unofficial results, then official results and the make-up of nations advancing in a particular class through to semi or finals.


Gull River, Minden, Ontario

I am exciting to wait for the start of the 2015 season including 5 World Cup races, Junior/ U23 and Senior Worlds as well as the Pan American Games #TO2015. I will be live tweeting.

As a closing reflection; in some respects live Twitter commentary doesn’t sound exactly new after all is that not what Teletext was 30 years ago? It has just become a little more portable.

World Paddle Awards

I am honoured to be nominated and shortlisted as Media Ambassador 2014 for the very first World Paddle Awards. You can read more about the 47 shortlisted nominees across 7 categories. You can read more about me and vote here.

Next week there will be part 3 in this series of articles includes my own top tips in using social media to generate modern day column inches across Paddlesport.

Photo credits Neil Proctor @ProctorPhotos & Sarah Quart @gogolittlered

This is the first in a series of posts describing the journey from print to digital supported by print in the world of canoe slalom.

The Deep Creek official programme first page spread of feature

The Deep Creek official programme first page spread of feature

I have been writing about international canoe slalom since 1989. In those early days I wrote on an electric typewriter, copy and pasted (with scissors and paper glue) to make up a one page press release and then went off in pursuit of a hotel who would agree to a fee to fax the page to the national newspapers. I remember chasing down results with Jennifer Munroe on the bank of the river Dee for the ICF Llangollen class C international race. We have come a long way. In 1991 this was an especially popular international race prior to the Nottingham ’92 World Cup and Barcelona Olympics. That summer Gareth Marriott had won the pre-Olympics.

Working on Sportscene articles in the Prague media centre

Working on Sportscene articles in the Prague media centre

Some eighteen years later I agreed to write a daily blog for the for the London Olympics. It proved a bigger undertaking than I could have imagined, particularly given that I was also working full time in the four weeks prior to the Olympic canoe slalom race at Lee Valley. On the race days the daily blog then became two posts, then three and then four. Exhausting. An incredible insight was that this linked content pushed me top of the Google ranking for searches on canoe slalom during the Olympics.

I have always been an early adopter on social media tools and now make a living do so. Out of shear natural curiosity, powered by ADD, I wanted to really understand how they could work for sport, the not-for-profit sector and business.  The daily blog for the London Olympics proved to me that it really is about content. I was honoured to receive permission to include photographs from many of the best photographers in the business, including World Paddle Awards co-nominee Antony Edmonds.  Fortunately, I was also sufficiently connected to obtain quotes from the legends in the sport of canoe slalom.

As a follow-up I produced an article published in the 2013 Planet Canoe print edition on the use of social media in the Olympics; @London2012 The impact of Social Media in 2012. Here is a link to the original article from which it was based. I now understand even better how blogging can drive SEO ranking and how with tools such as HubSpot we can help to integrate digital with followers and access to additional content.

The blogging has continued and evolved. I have posted 40+ articles since the London Olympics primarily through the fabulous platform. I think Rob van Bommel deserves enormous credit for a self-less passion to elevate Paddlesports. I have come up with something of a formula for these articles, including a standardized format for the race analytics. This has been made possible by using extensive spreadsheets collating all the race results for each paddler, class and race. These articles have included a preview of the year and end of season review as well as individual preview and review of each World Cup and World Championship races over the last two seasons. These have again been supported by stunning photography and insights from paddlers.

Going back to the start of today’s post it was a dream standing above Town Falls that one day we may be able to propel canoe slalom to a level to attract main stream TV coverage and sponsorship. Now, however, we have control of the distribution channel and can avoid the disappointment of toiling for hours to find the print media decided only to list the results and not the story behind them.

World Paddle Awards

I am honoured to be nominated and shortlisted as Media Ambassador 2014 for the very first World Paddle Awards. You can read more about the 47 shortlisted nominees across 7 categories. You can read more about me and vote here.

Part 2 in this series of articles next week will look specifically at micro-blogging. Follow me @gregiej 

Iconic image of Deep Creek Worlds (Photo courtesy of Jochen Meyer)

Iconic image of Deep Creek Worlds (Photo courtesy of Jochen Meyer)

The Deep Creek Worlds #DeepCreek2014 were historic in so many respects. My contribution took five parts:

1) 10 Predictions to Deep Creek Canoe Slalom Worlds posted on Sportscene

2) The Ultimate Run – 25 years on published in the Deep Creek official program(me)

3) Live commentary through 1,000 Tweets in four days @gregiej

4) The French Connection review posted on Sportscene. This includes rob van Bommel’s outstanding video round-up from the closing ceremony

5) 250 1-2 second video clip montage coming soon!


Vavra Hradilek on his 2nd qualification run, showing his historic Czech flair

Vavra Hradilek on his 2nd qualification run, showing his historic Czech flair (photo courtesy of Balint Vekassy, ICF)

I was honoured and privileged to interview Jon Lugbill, Davey Hearn, Richard Fox and Bill Endicott for the 25 year anniversary. The Ultimate Run. The feature previously included in the official programme. It was wonderful to work with Kent Ford & Lamar Sims, with whom I did the live race commentary for the ’95 Worlds in Nottingham, UK.

The Deep Creek official programme first page spread of feature

The Deep Creek official programme first page spread of feature

Funniest memories from Deep Creek were Jessica Fox appearing to tweet from the start line, Klauss & Peche startline selfie and Vavra’s stylish cross bow (above).

Kent Ford interviewing the legend Jon Lugbill winner of the 89 Worlds C1 title

Kent Ford interviewing the legend Jon Lugbill winner of the 89 Worlds C1 title


John reading In the Flow at La Seu D’Urgell where page the book begins

Jonathan Males In the Flow is a very personal book; it examined my own relationship with canoeing. I suspect it is also a very personal book for Jon too. However, this is no autobiography.

The book provides explicitly relevant insights from an accomplished expert, role model and friend. Males has explored Self-Confidence in a easy to remember way. He describes the four Fundamentals; Mastery Motivation, Decision Making, Execution and Teamwork. The book is a must read also in that it presents a paddlers insight as well as guidance for coaches and parents. The inclusion of attributes, warning signs and learning questions each add great value to the book.

This 2014 book is beautifully illustrated with photography by Antony Edmonds, Rob van Bommel and Deb Pinniger and benefits from quotes from the absolute elite among Paddlesport. Buy this book for no other reason that to read what these Olympic, World and trail blazers say about our wonderful sport.

I couldn’t put the book down and read every page. I will refer back to it again for sure. Personally, I am already aware that my own identity is strongly tied to canoeing. I will have to ask Jon what exactly this says about my 44-year old self! Canoeing has opened a thrilling world to me. I have visited the most inspiring places in the world and paddled alongside so many inspiring friends.

I studied Peter Terry’s 1989 book The Winning Mind on mental preparation techniques. Now though we have a performance psychology book specific to winning in canoeing and kayaking.

Thank you Jonathan. This is a tremendous legacy to share with us. We are all richer for your dedication.

My support of the website has continued this year. Here are links to the 16 articles posted under @gregiej so far, with just a couple extra posted separately to this blog.

2014 ICF Canoe Slalom season preview

Scotland, Canoe Slalom and the impact of of independence

Junior & U23 World Championship race analytics

The Ultimate Run – 25 years on – anniversary of ’89 Savage Worlds

Onwards and Upwards with the Brazilian Canoe Slalom Team

ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup race 1 preview

ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup race 2 review & 3 preview

ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup race 3 review and tribute

ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup race 4 preview

ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup race 4 review

ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup race 5 preview

ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup final review

A review of In the Flow by Jonathan Males

10 Predictions for the Deep Creek Worlds

Deep Creek official program – The Ultimate Run 25 years on

The French Connection – Deep Creek Canoe Slalom Worlds Review

Deep Creek Worlds 2014 blog entry summary

Vote for Fiona Pennie – UK #WomenInSportCalendar

Canoe Slalom debut at the Pan Am Games #TO2015

A special thanks and recognition to all the photographers and contributors who have allowed me to quote them and use their fabulous photography.


Here are links to my 25 @gregiej Sportscene articles so far in 2013

Canoe Slalom Worlds in Prague

Canoe Slalom 2013 World Cup races

Canoe Slalom 2013 Senior European Championships

GB Team 2013 Canoe Slalom Selection

Lee Valley Olympic Legacy project

2013 Canoe Slalom season preview

About @gregiej


John Gregory – @gregiej – The Czech team celebrated topping the table with the team results on the home World Championships with the British topping the table with two golds and a silver in the individual events.


Mallory Franklin celebrates taking the lead and silver in Prague Worlds (photo courtesy of Neil Proctor)

The tide has turned for the British in Prague as a kayak nation becomes a canoeing nation. They have long been recognised as a nation very strong in both kayak men and women (K1M & K1W) yet at these Worlds Great Britain has achieved something quite unique with senior World Championship titles in both C1M and C2. This adds to their London Olympic gold and silver in C2. Yesterday was defined as a day for their first C1M World Championship title Sunday in Prague they now have a C2 World Championship title too. To cap it off Mallory Franklin took a well-deserved silver in C1W and the British C2 team secured a beautifully orchestrated bronze in the C2 Team event.

In K1W, Émilie Fer (FRA) put down a confident run of 111.74 + 4 seconds to win by 2.20 over her French team-mate Nouria Newman in silver medal position with Jasmin Schornberg (GER) +4.21 seconds taking the bronze. In the end the final was considerably slower than the semi-final and no paddler managed to finish this extraordinarily tough course with less than 4 seconds of penalties.

Émilie Fer from France joined an elite group by holding concurrent Olympic and World Championships titles in K1W.

In the earlier semi-finals Štěpánka Hilgertová (CZE), Jessica Fox (AUS) and Ursa Kragelj (SLO) were unable to go quick enough to make the cut and heat winner Lizzie Neave (GBR) didn’t find her earlier form and finished a painful 11th just missing the final.

In C2 finals David Florence already C1M World Champion this weekend and his back-man Richard Hounslow put in a solid, controlled and crucially clear run in the final with 114.10 seconds. The noise levels rose to a crescendo with three Czech C2 crews coming down after them. It was an agonising wait for Florence & Hounslow but only Ladislav & Peter Skantar were also able to go clear and as it often the case it all came down to penalties. The silver medal went to Jaroslav Volf & Ondřej Štěpánek (CZE) 0.04 seconds or less than one stroke behind the British. It is a dramatic way for Volf & Štěpánek to exit as these Prague World’s were their last race. Ladislav & Peter Skantar took the bronze for Slovakia +2.01.


Volf & Stepanek bow out with silver in Prague (photo courtesy of Neil Proctor)

In the earlier semi-final the Pavol & Peter Hochschorner uncharacteristically seem to miss one key stroke which forced them to loop back for gate 10. It was evident that they immediately recognised it was all over.

It has been a tremendously exciting World Championships. The events was characterised by tight, exciting racing in a well-managed event. Congratulations to the Českého svazu kanoistiky organisers for battling back to clear the damage left by the flooding and pull of a great World Championship event. Daniel Stach and Miroslav Lenc did a great job with their live race commentary and whipping up the supporters in the stands.

A full Worlds review can be found here on the Sportscene website, including a round-up of the full 2013 slalom season. An interview with the Brazilian team is also in preparation and will follow soon.

John Gregory – @gregiej – While Friday will be remembered as a day of unexpected exits, Saturday became a day of celebrating new champions.

While the Czechs loudly celebrated their men Vavřinec Hradilek and Jiri Prskavek and while the Australian’s their golden girl Jessica Fox, the British humbly celebrated new heights in C1 paddling with a first ever gold in C1M and first ever silver in C1W at senior World Championships.


No.1 at last. British C1 paddler David Florence (photo courtesy of Neil Proctor)

For the British, the late Martyn Hedges won a bronze in C1M in Augsburg in the 1985 Worlds before Gareth Marriot won a bronze in Três Coroas in 1997; Great Britain had never had a C1M World Champion. Despite Gareth’s Olympic silver in ’92 and David Florence’s silver in 2012 it is the first major win. It was sweetened still as David was awarded as new World Champion by the sports legend Tony Estanguet. Mallory Franklin also won a tremendous first for British C1W with a silver medal to add to her gold in the 2013 U23 European Champions in Bourg St Maurice.

The day truly belonged to the Czech’s and Vavřinec who did not disappoint their home support with a phenomenal 94.52 seconds including a touch K1M winning run in Troja. The local Czech supporters were utterly deafening and the Czech commentary got faster and faster.

In C1W, 19 year old Jessica Fox from Australia maintained her excellent 2013 consistency and composure to win by a whopping 12.99 seconds on a not entirely perfect run with 6 seconds of penalties. The lead switched multiple times but as Fox made her way down the 1st and 2nd split gave a clear insight into who would likely take the title. Quite a year for the still young Fox, 2013 World Cup series champion, senior World Champion and U23 World Champion.


Golden Girl Jessica Fox new C1W World Champion (photo courtesy of Neil Proctor)

In C1M, 31 year old David Florence from Great Britain was one of the earlier paddlers down in the final and maintained his advantage despite a 2 second penalty. His run time of 100.53 + 2 seconds in penalties was the fastest C1 and more than 2 seconds faster than anyone else. It was an agonising wait for Florence as seven of the World’s top C1 paddlers made their way down including reigning World Champion Denis Gargaud Chanut (FRA) and then last Olympic silver medalist and 2013 World Cup series champion Sideris Tasiadis (GER).


Vavrinec Hradilek – the day belonged to the Czechs (photo courtesy of Neil Proctor)

In K1M, the day belonged to 26 year old Vavřinec Hradilek. Absolutely sensational and no doubt buoyed by the incredible noise from local support all the way down the course to the finish. Local 20 year old Jiři Prskavec (CZE) had taken the lead with 6 paddlers remaining in the final with 95.90 seconds clear. While he surrendered his lead to his older and more experienced team-mate both then had to wait for the remaining 4 paddlers to finish before there was an almighty cheer from both the stands and Czech team.

I was pleased to see Daniele Molmenti gain his revenge with an Italian win in K1M Team. Australia bagged the C1W Team gold as they should and Slovakia took the gold in C1M Team to round off an exciting scorcher of a day.

So still to come from Troja tomorrow Sunday September 15th are the K1W & C2 semi-final & finals followed by the K1W & C2 Team races. Both today’s winners Jessica Fox and David Florence will be back racing in K1W and C2 classes respectively. The classes are very tight and open with a multitude of paddlers capable of a win.

I will again be live tweeting @gregiej which you can follow on the page or search #slalomtroja. Slalom World are posting a rather interesting gate analysis showing on which gates paddlers were incurring both 2 second and 50 second penalties.

Photos courtesy of Neil Proctor Photography

John Gregory – @gregiej – Who would have thought? Today we saw the unexpected exits of such big names as Kuhnle, Martikan, Molmenti, Kauzer and Schubert. Astonishing really! The competition is hotting up as the qualification heats concluded and we progressed onto a very tough tight new course for the semi-finals on the Troja course in picturesque Prague.

In the second day of heats competition has again been tight as expected.


Lizzie Neave K1W heat winner (photo courtesy of Neil Proctor)

In K1W overall heat winner was Lizzie Neave (GBR) with a faultless 2nd run of 98.09 seconds to lead 1.92 ahead of Olympic champion Émilie Fer (FRA). Fer had set the pace in the 1st runs with her time of 100.01 seconds. 26 year old Neave had also been the heat winner this season at both the Cardiff and Seu World Cup races. In both cases she finished on the podium in the final. The enormous shock was the exit of Austria’s 26 year-old Corinna Kühnle who came to Prague as reigning World Champion and one of the favourites. She posted a 98.66 second time but incurred a 50 second penalty on the downstream gate 21. She then put down a 100.95 quick second run but again was awarded a 50 second penalty for downstream gate 16. It will be the first time we have not seen her in a semi-final or final for some time and opens the field up to other athletes. She quickly left the venue. 15 nations placed boats in the 30 places which qualify for the semi-final on Saturday. These include Great Britain, Australia, Slovakia, Germany, Australia and Germany who all secured all three boats in the semi-final. Sadly, Ana Satila (BRA) was placed in 32nd just outside qualification. Japan’s 21 year old Aki Yazawa did qualify for the semi-final out-performing her team mate Yuriko Takeshita who had been 4th at the Beijing Olympics.

In C2 overall heat winner was Jarolsav Volf & Ondřej Štěpánek with 102.37 seconds clear. They led a Czech team lock out occupying first, second and third in the first runs and holding onto first and second with Ladislav & Peter Skantar (SVK) stealing third place at the conclusion to second runs. Impressive. Notable too, that Volf & Štěpánek have announced their retirement following these Worlds. Good way to go out. The semi-final comprises 9 nations, all European, with Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Germany and Poland all qualifying three boats for the semi-final tomorrow. Charles Correa & Anderson Oliveira (BRA) placed 22nd and failed to make the cut.

This afternoon’s racing then stepped up a gear with the semi-finals in C1M and K1M. The commentator and grandstand crowd grew louder and louder as the semi-finals progressed. The course designed by Olympic Champion Thomas Schmidt from Germany was exceptionally tough and worthy of a World Championship standard test.

In the first semi-final, C1M, there was an audible gasp as Michal Martikán finished outside the top 10 and failed to make the cut into the final. Only once had he failed to be on the podium and few can recall a time when Martikán hasn’t been in the final. The overall winner of the semi-final was deservedly Sideris Tasiadis who looked on sensational form and finishes in 104.43 clear only 0.40 seconds ahead of reigning World champion Denis Gargaud Chanut from France. The C1M final is made up of 7 nations of which the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Slovakia each have two boats. There are no boats from outside Europe.

In the K1M semi-final that followed, we were dumb struck to see Molmenti, then Schubert and then Kauzer fail to make the cut for the final. This is significant because Daniele Molmenti (ITA) is the reigning Olympic and former Wold Champion, Peter Kauzer (SLO) is the double reigning World champion and Sebastian Schubert (GER) is the newly crowned 2013 World Cup champion who has shown such superb consistency all season. The overall semi-final winner was another German Hannes Aigner from Augsburg who delivered a confident 95.42 seconds clear and 0.71 seconds ahead of Mateusz Polaczyk from Poland. The K1M final will be made up of 8 nations including Germany and Czech Republic with two boats and one boat each from North & South America. The event ended with local heat winner Vavřinec Hradilek (CZE) awarded a 50 second penalty on gate 16. After video review the 50 second penalty was removed and he finished 5th. Rising star of the day for me was 20 year old Joe Clarke (GBR) who at his first senior World Championships goes into the final 6th after a confident 2nd in the heat. The final will contain two former World Champions in the form of Fabien Lefevre (USA) and Fabian Dörfler (GER)

So still to come from Troja

Saturday September 14th Semi-final C1W, final C1W, C1M & K1M. Teams C1W, C1M & K1M

Sunday September 15th K1W & C2 semi-final & final. Teams K1W & C2

I will be live tweeting @gregiej which you can follow on the page or search #slalomtroja. Slalom World were posting a rather interesting gate analysis showing on which gates paddlers were incurring both 2 second and 50 second penalties.

John Gregory – @gregiej – We were treated to an impressive opening ceremony at Divaldo Hybernia theatre in Prague on Wednesday night. It was a great celebration of 100 years of Czech canoeing heritage. While we were in awe of the acrobats I am sure they think the same looking at the paddlers tackling the Troja whitewater.
I am working on a series of special features for and a full review of the World Championships will be posted on Monday. There are some great pictures and video interviews from today’s racing posted on the ICF website, Facebook pages and national association sites.
I am staying at Hotel Troja up the hill from the course together with many athletes including the team from Brazil. We Sportscene articles will include an article looking at the Brazilian team and hopefully the Japanese team. How these teams are evolving and what to expect from them as they each in turn prepare to host the Olympics.
New ICF rankings were posted after the last World Cup race and actually will be revised again next week after the completion of the World championships. Jessica Fox (AUS) is understandably now World ranked no.1 in C1W, Olympic and World Cup champion Émilie Fer (FRA) is now World no.1 in K1W, while Pierre Labarelle & Nicolas Peschier (FRA) are now World No.1 in C2 displacing Pavel and Peter Hochschorner (SVK). Etienne Daille (FRA) remains K1M ICF World ranked no.1 as does Tony Estanguet (FRA) in C1M even though he has retired! Anyone notice a strong French connection here?


Triple Olympic Champion Tony Estanguet in the flesh at Prague 2013

Today we had the qualification heats of K1M, C1M and C1W in that order.
In K1M overall heat winner was Vavřinec Hradilek with a sensationally quick first run of 84.69 seconds clear. 20 nations placed boats in the 40 places which qualify for the semi-final on Friday afternoon. These include Czech Republic, Germany, USA, Australia, Italy, Slovenia and France who all secured all three boats in the semi-final. I was really impressed to see Team USA with 19 year old Michal Smolen in 3rd, Fabien Lefevre in 7th and Richard Powell in 12th. Pedro Da Silva took the penultimate spot in the semi-final. Daniele Molmenti (ITA) pulled back from 37th after first runs and Etienne Daille (FRA) from 39th. Although Ben Hayward and John Hastings from Canada made the cut, former World Champion David Ford, 46, was just not quick enough.
In C1M overall heat winner was Benjamin Savšek (SLO) who had also been the heat winner of the World Cup final in Bratislava. 18 nations placed boats in the 30 places which qualify for the semi-final on Friday afternoon. These include Slovenia, Great Britain and Czech Republic who secured all three boats in the semi-final. Takuya Haneda (JPN) placed 12th. Mark Proctor (GBR) had a fast first run to be the early leader before slipping to 7th and then nailed an even more impressive 2nd run to finish second 1.44 behind Savšek’s first run of 91.58 seconds clear. Reigning World Champion Denis Gargaud Chanut had to pull out a strong second run to secure a place in the semi-final. Jan Benzien (GE) was unable to go clear and was the surprise exit at this stage.
In C1W overall heat winner was Kateřina Hošková (CZE) with a second run a mere 0.37 seconds quicker than Jessica Fox’s first run. 11 nations placed boats in the 20 places which qualify for the semi-final on Saturday morning. These included Great Britain, Germany and Australia who secured all three boats in the semi-final. Ana Satila, 17, from Brazil comfortably secured a spot in the semi-final. Great Britain placed all three C1W in the top 9.

So still to come from Troja
Friday September 13th Qualification heats K1W and C2. Semi-final C1M & K1M
Saturday September 14th Semi-final C1W, final C1W, C1M & K1M. Teams C1W, C1M & K1M
Sunday September 15th K1W & C2 semi-final & final. Teams K1W & C2

Working on Sportscene articles in the Prague media centre

Working on Sportscene articles in the Prague media centre

I will be live tweeting @gregiej which you can follow on the page or search #slalomtroja


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 681 other followers