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.

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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.

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Photo courtesy of Neil Proctor Photograpy

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

A day of new Champions – Praha Worlds Day 3 review

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.

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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.

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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).

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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 www.sportscene.tv/liveresults page or search #slalomtroja. Slalom World are posting a rather interesting gate analysis http://www.slalomtroja.com/gates/ showing on which gates paddlers were incurring both 2 second and 50 second penalties.

Photos courtesy of Neil Proctor Photography