For the first time in the history of the sport, Paracanoe is being included in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Lake Lanier Olympic Park is proud to hold one of the last Paracanoe qualifiers at the USA Canoe/Kayak Paralympic Team Trials, where dozens of athletes from all over the United States will compete April 29-30, 2016.
The USA Canoe Kayak Paralympic Team will be selected in two stages. A maximum of 12 athletes, two in each of the disability classes, will be selected from the trials at Lake Lanier to compete in the Paracanoe World Championships in Duisburg, Germany May 17-19, 2016. The winners of the World Championships, will then go on to compete in Brazil.
The Rio Paralympic Games are being held September 7-18, with the Paracanoe competitions taking place September 14th and 15th.
Coaches with the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club (LCKC) are helping prepare local parathletes for the trials. These athletes train up to six times a week, sometimes more than once a day.
Capture these parathlete’s inspiring stories as they train at Lake Lanier Olympic Park in preparation for the trials and in hopes to compete in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
Nik Miller, Parathlete
Nik lost part of his leg from injuries he sustained after a careless driver ran a stop sign. He is now a decorated paraconoer, having won multiple competitions and awards.
Naida Hopkins, Parathlete
Born with Spina Bifida, Naida spent the first nine years of her life in a Russian orphanage, before being adopted and brought home to Georgia. She is now a competitive paracanoer.
Cannie Ash, Coach