2015 Canoe Slalom article listing

Here is a full listing and links to my canoe slalom articles during 2015. These were posted to Sportscene.tv, International Canoe Federation as well as this blog. Through the year I provided live race commentary on Twitter via @gregiej @planetcanoe and using #ICFslalom.

Continue reading “2015 Canoe Slalom article listing”

Ana-Satila-Neil-Proctor

A day with the Brazilian Canoe Slalom Team

I have been following the Brazilian Canoe Slalom Team since 2012. In these 3 years they have made stellar progress towards their podium hopes at their home Rio Olympics.

The statistics reveal a very high historical correlation between Junior World Champions and future Olympic medallist – so you wouldn’t bet against Ana Satila being on the podium on her home course in Rio next summer! Read my latest article to find out why.

Read Breakfast with the Brazilian Canoe Slalom Team article

The article includes:

  • Wonderful photography again from Neil Proctor
  • Quotes from Lisa Micheler-Jones, Ana Satila & Guille Diez-Canedo
  • Highlights of Brazilian team results

You can also read the original 2013 “An Evening with the Brazilian Canoe Slalom Team” article here.

Prague 2013 - Brazillian Interview-12
Photo courtesy of Neil Proctor Photograpy

New chapter for Lee Valley Worlds – Planet Canoe

Same valuable content – new location and channel

Canoe Slalom ICF Lee Valley World Championships
The author, John Gregory tweeting from Lee Valley via @PlanetCanoe. Photo courtesy of Neil Proctor

The ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships marked the next step in this journey, first taking this blog to Sportscene.tv in January 2013 and now to the ICF Planet Canoe website plus @PlanetCanoe Twitter account. I’m again very honoured. With the UK’s Daily Telegraph dedicating a shameful 21 words to David Florence’s latest World Championship title I am very grateful that we now have control of the delivery of content! Congratulations to our new Cane Slalom World Champions.

I provided a preview article to the ICF called 10 pointers for canoe slalom showdown. I must compliment the ICF on the way in which they have improved their live results, athlete interviews and live feed video through the Planet Canoe YouTube Channel. It is great to continue working alongside Matthew Leighton.

Through the great World Championships at Lee Valley I posted 673 tweets through @PlanetCanoe. Although there were two somewhat competing hashtags being promoted through the event, we generated 3,175 with #ICFslalom during the week which generated 10 million impressions on the last day alone. Interestingly, those which referenced the UK BBC TV Blue Peter presenter challenge with Russ Smith & Tim Baillie on the course actually generated the most timeline deliveries and retweets!!

Here you can read my post race analysis called 10 insightful facts about the Lee Valley Worlds

You can view my updated consolidated table of canoe slalom champions, updated September 25, 2015. Consolidated summary of key race winners 25.09.15

Here is a link to the latest 2015-4 ICF World Rankings.

lee_valley_whitewater_london_2012

2015 Sportscene articles

Here is a full listing and links to my 2015 articles posted on Sportscene.tv during 2015. For live ICF race commentary follow me on Twitter @gregiej. Below you can follow the links to both previews and reviews of the Junior / U23 ICF World Championships, ICF World Cup series and Pan Am Games #TO2015.

lee_valley_whitewater_london_2012

Breakfast with the Brazilian Canoe Slalom team

2015 season review in just 3 words

ICF World Cup Pau final review

ICF World Cup 4 Seu review & Pau preview 

ICF World Cup 4 Seu preview

Pan Am Games Canoe Slalom race review in Minden

Pam Am Games Canoe Slalom race preview in Minden

ICF World Cup 3 Liptovsky review

ICF World Cup 2 Krakow review and Liptovsky preview

ICF World Cup 1 Prague review

ICF Canoe Slalom Prague World Cup 1 preview

ICF Junior / U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships race review in Foz

ICF Junior / U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships Foz preview

King of Slalomia – Interview with multiple World Champions

2015 ICF Canoe Slalom Season preview

Inaugural winners of the World Paddle Awards

Congratulations to my fellow finalist Steve West winner of the Media Ambassador at last night’s World Paddle Awards in the stunning Augsburg Rathaus Goldener Saal.

WPA Winners. Photo courtesy of Klick-foto24
WPA Winners. Photo courtesy of Klickfoto-24

It was an exceptional night; a real privilege to be surrounded by so many inspiring people, so passionate about Paddlesport. Congratulations to all the winners also to the World Paddle Awards faculty and Augsburg hosting team for such an incredible event. We were all inspired by the winners. Eric Jackson talked about finding paddlesport as “a worthy purpose”. We were all moved by the Expand & Extend Nepal, both in light of the devastating earthquake and what they are doing to promote equality for girls through paddlesport.

Expand & Extreme Paddlesport Professional winners
Expand & Extreme Paddlesport Professional winners. Photo courtesy of Klickfoto-24
Richard & Jess Fox
Richard & Jess Fox. Photo courtesy of @gregiej

These WPA cause me to reflect back to standing on the banks of the river Dee for the Llangollen International with Jennifer Munroe. [Jennifer was Richard’s mother, Jessica‘s grandmother. It was wonderful to see her husband, son, daughter and granddaughter in Augsburg last night]. Together we were writing old fashioned press releases to fax to the media to gain some precious column inches. It was a real catch 22; needing sponsors to attract media and media to attract sponsors. It is poignant to be here in Augsburg 25 years later for these first World Paddle Awards surrounded by sponsors and media.

Roger,  and Richard Fox
Roger, Daphne and Richard Fox. Photo courtesy of @gregiej

Augsburg has such a rich history in paddlesports. Few people appreciate that the original Eiskanal pre-dates the 1972 Olympics and was the site of the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in 1957. For both 1972 and 1985 the slalom course started above the top sluice and ran for more than 600 metres. I was here for the 2003 World Championships to see Fabien Lefevre successfully defend his K1M title. Augsburg has continued to be very innovative across many paddlesports and we were made exceptional welcome in the city.

I am very honoured to have been among the finalists and on the podium! You can revisit my Twitter feed from last night and follow the canoe slalom races this year @gregiej on Twitter. My World Cup preview will follow early next month on Sportscene.

Final word. The WPA are supporting Kanu Nepal-Hilfe raising much needed funds to support the region. Well done. WPA has today announced that nomination for 2015 awards will commence this September.

World Paddle Awards tonight in Augsburg

Tonight (May 9th) the inaugural World Paddle Awards ceremony kick-off in Augsburg at the stunning Augsburg Rathaus Goldener Saal. As many as 400 people are expected to attend this star studded event, with the finalists, nominees, faculty and sponsors.

Alongside the Eiskanal with Nick Harding
Alongside the Eiskanal with Nick Harding

This is highly poignant for me realizing the journey over the last 25 years desperately trying to engage the media with press releases to publish a few column inches in print media.

Today we have engaged sponsors and media supporting this fantastic event. See the World Paddle Awards website. I will report on these inspiring awards ceremony and look forward to listening to the winners.

ECA event poster
ECA event poster

It is an exciting weekend in Augsburg with the ECA Wildwater Sprint & Boater-Cross race on the Eiskanal. Qualification is today and finals tomorrow.

 

 

2015 ICF Canoe Slalom season preview

Al Ain photo courtesy of Richard Houslow
Al Ain photo courtesy of Richard Hounslow

Here is my 2015 season preview posted on Sportscene.

If you are an accomplished slalom paddler then good luck this season and alternatively if you are completely new to canoeing then I hope the above post encourages you to pick up a paddle for the first time. Happy reading.

The articles includes interviews with the Brazil team ahead of he Junior/ U23 World Championships, James Cartwright of Canoe-Kayak Canada ahead of the Pan American Games, Paul Owen, British Canoeing Chief Executive ahead of the Senior World Championships at Lee Valley as well as a variety of the top paddlers.

I will be providing live race tweets for the Pan Am Games, Lee Valley Worlds and through the World Cup races using #ICFslalom all season. Follow me @gregiej

Click here to see the 2014 reigning champions

Part 4 – My personal top 3 pick of the mix canoe slalom

This is the fourth and last 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 my own top tips in using online media.

This week I reflect back on my own personal favourites over the last 25 years. The common link in many of them have been the personal insights athletes, retired athletes and coaches have afforded me through interviews.  Like any good old fashion press release and article they contain strong titles, quotes and great photography.

Trail Blazers Martyn Hedges (Canoe Kayak UK magazine issue 16 July 2002)

Martyn Hedges was regarded as one of the top C1 paddlers in the 1980s. Sadly, after being selected for the Barcelona Olympics he was killed in a car accident months before. Ten years after this tragic event I was able to contact his competitors, training partners and coaches to write an article about the paddler we all knew as Bushy. It was printed in Canoe Kayak UK magazine as two double page spreads. It was complemented by amazing photography by Tony Tickle and Pete Astles.

Britain's outstanding C1 paddler, Martyn Hedges, known to us all as Bushy. Photo courtesy of Tony Tickle and CKUK
Britain’s outstanding C1 paddler, Martyn Hedges, known to us all as Bushy. Photo courtesy of Tony Tickle and CKUK

Another ten years later in my Unofficial Olympic Canoe Slalom blog for the London 2012 Olympics I paid tribute again to Bushy and to share the story with a new generation. The original is not available online to my knowledge you can read my 2012 tribute here.  It was the post that received the most comments and shares.

An evening with the Brazilian Canoe Slalom team (2013) 

Photo courtesy of Neil Proctor Photograpy
Photo courtesy of Neil Proctor Photograpy

With the Rio Olympics less than 2 years away it is great to follow the progress of this young developing team. Neil Proctor and I had the pleasure of an evening with the Brazilian Canoe Slalom team after the close of the 2013 Worlds in Prague. The evening was fun in itself and having the full team of paddlers, coaches and team manager, Ettore Ivaldi, altogether enhanced the conversation. I have continued to follow the team’s exploits here and hope to do a similar article with the Japanese Canoe Slalom Team in 2015.

The Ultimate Run – 25 years on (2014)

Not unlike the Martyn Hedges piece noted above this was a wonderful opportunity and privilege to go back to the legends in the sport; Jon Lugbill, Davey Hearn & Bill Endicott. The original article The Ultimate Run 25 years on piece was posted online through Sportscene.tv. The organisers of the Deep Creek Worlds then invited me to re-edit as a feature piece for the Deep Creek official programme. I decided to seek additional insights from Richard Fox. I was very proud of the finished version. Again, both the online and subsequent print article was enhanced through the stunning photography of Tony Tickle and Dale Briggs. The only disappointed aspect was leaving out more fabulous quotes in the interests of space.

The Deep Creek official programme first page spread of feature. Print version courtesy of Deep Creek 2014 Host Organising Committee & Eloqui.com
The Deep Creek official programme first page spread of feature. Print version courtesy of Deep Creek 2014 Host Organising Committee & Eloqui.com

In the previews and race reviews posted on the Sportscene.tv website over the last two years I have also sought to include historical references or analytics which the main stream media would be unlikely to find. It has helped to have been there in person and witnessed many events and had personal relationships with the people involved in some way or other. Online also enables us to measure the impact of different articles or even alternative titles. One of the most viewed and shared was my blog piece A Spectator’s Guide  Knowing that lists are often the most viewed or shared this last year I wrote Top 10 Predictions for Deep Creek. Like many of the posts or articles mentioned it has been in development for many months before it went live. To me the key is knowing the right questions to ask.

I have worked with remarkable talented people along the way.  In the early days contributed to Slalom Magazine and then supported Jimmy Jayes with his 1991 book Every Second Counts and then produced a report entitled To Athens 2004 and beyond that arose from an Athens Canoeing Advisory Panel. More than anything it has been fun.  The only other piece I pull out is my piece of creative writing My Ultimate Run in the Canoe Slalom blog. I thought it was different and may offer insights to those who had not experienced Lee Valley from water level.

As I described in the very first of these four posts social media has enabled us greater control of the media channel and helped us widely communicate our passion for the sport with the worldwide paddling community. Live commentary on Twitter is a different skill set capturing information in the instant and communicating it well is less than 140 characters. Social media enables all of us to be engaged. You are all playing a part. Thank you.

I am honoured to be nominated as Media Ambassador 2014 for the World Paddle Awards. Please read more and vote here.

This is the last in this series. Following soon will be my 2015 season preview posted to the Sportscene.tv website. Thanks for reading. Follow me @gregiej

Part 3 – Top tips to driving a social canoe slalom

Quick video created on the iPhone 6

This is the third 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 to micro-blogging using Twitter.

Content is king. Creating value for readers requires great content. Creating a continuous flow of high quality content is time consuming although surprising simple.  We can see that content that includes photographs, audio and video gains an increasing number of likes, shares or retweets.

Tip 1 – How to make the most of Twitter

Start by establishing hastags for each event or series. I have increasingly pushed organisers to specify their hastag for an event very early on and encourage everyone to consistently use the same hastag. This makes it easier to trend a topic and easier for others to search and follow a specific topic. It is good to see the ICF encouraging use of #ICFslalom for 2015 and beyond.

Keep Tweets short, less than 140 characters so they can be retweeted without losing important links. A good proportion of tweets should contain a link or photograph although not every one.

My Twitter feed is embedded into the Sportscene.tv/liveresults page.

Tip 2 – How to get live time quotes and pictures

The art of gaining insightful quotes is asking the right questions. This comes with practice as well as an intimate understanding of the sport and what will interest readers.

Many of the international elite canoe slalom community are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which has made obtaining live quotes from athletes at events easier. I try to maintain a balance and not to unnecessarily disturb paddlers mental focus at races. Not every athlete will respond and this is fine.

These social channels have also made it possible to ask the community for a photograph of a specific athlete and request permission from photographers to use their pictures in subsequent articles or posts. Always state to whom the photograph is credited.

Absolute delight for Daniele Molmenti (photo courtesy of Sportscene)
Absolute delight for Daniele Molmenti (photo courtesy of Sportscene)

Tip 3 – How to create yourself as a brand

You are you own brand and social media channels enable you to control the message. Paddlers and teams can prepare what they might say as a quote and can use those providing coverage for a race to extend their own brand image. Take advantage of this opportunity. My brand is @gregiej

I communicate links to all the articles I have written across multiple platforms, which have included Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. These link back to where the core pre or post race content is posted which has tended to be either Sportscene or my own blog.

Building a following on any of the channels is hard, doesn’t come easy and requires time and patience. However, we know that good content gets shared and so your following will expand. It is incredibly exciting to see highly influential members of the paddler community or media outlets retweet your content to their own followers.

BBC Sport journalist Ollie Williams interviews Lizzie Neave (K1W) after securing her Olympic place at selection (photo courtesy of John Gregory)
BBC Sport journalist Ollie Williams interviews Lizzie Neave (K1W) after securing her Olympic place at selection (photo courtesy of John Gregory)

Tip 4 – Plan ahead

For the London Olympics I posted at least once a day which got me to the top of Google searches. I tried to write a couple of days ahead and send questions to current or retired paddlers asking for quotes maybe a week in advance.

I have detailed spreadsheets and analytics of athlete’s results and I have a structure template for the race previews or reviews which allows me to create content very quickly. That said, several articles have been weeks in production before they finally appear on the Sportscene website.

C1W Canoe Slalom
C1W athlete results analysis 2014

Final tip in planning is to proof read extremely thoroughly. Get help if necessary and cross check spelling, which nation a paddler is competing for, in which class and double check the results.

World Paddle Awards

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 4 in this series of articles I look back at some of the key articles I have enjoyed creating over the last 25 years.