Canoe Sprint Results: Nevin Harrison Wins Gold for the U.S.
TOKYO – There aren’t many world class canoeists from the United States. There really is only one.
At 17, Nevin Harrison was the only American to make a final at the last Sprint Canoe Kayak World Championships in 2019. She won the gold medal.
At 19, she was the only American canoe or kayak sprinter to qualify for the Olympics. On Thursday, in the 200 meters, she again won a gold medal.
She took the victory in 45.932 seconds, beating Laurence Vincent-Lapointe of Canada and Liudmyla Luzan of Ukraine.
“I was shaking a bit at first,” Harrison said after his win. “It was scary, to say the least.”
The 200 meters, almost a dead sprint from start to finish, is the shortest race on the Olympic program. Although Harrison says she is resting a bit in the second 50.
“It’s such a crazy big dream,” she said of the gold medal, “that it doesn’t even seem achievable.”
The canoe / kayak sprint is also referred to as flat water to distinguish it from the whitewater canoe slalom events held earlier during the Games. Flatwater canoeing for women debuts at the Tokyo Olympics; before these Games, women had only competed in kayaks.
“It was a tough trip because I didn’t have anyone to follow,” Harrison said. “I hope to be that person for the next generation.” She has promised to return for the Paris Games in 2024.
Harrison’s medal was the first in sprint canoeing for the United States since Greg Barton won four total medals at the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Games (including one with Norman Bellingham). No American woman had won a canoe-kayak sprint medal since 1964.
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