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Olympic medalists to compete in OKC


A stout competitive field is shaping up for Saturday’s ICF Canoe Sprint Super Cup in Oklahoma City on Saturday.

Olympic gold and silver medalists Nevin Harrison and Adam Varga, respectively, are entered along with other world-class canoe sprint paddlers.

The event will play out on the Oklahoma River at Riversport OKC.

It’s all part of the Oklahoma Paddle Sports Festival that runs Friday through Monday.

Harrison, 19, made canoe sprint history when she won the first ever Olympic gold medal on offer in women’s canoeing in Tokyo earlier this month.

She is the first American woman to win an Olympic canoe sprint gold medal.

Varga, a 21-year-old Hungarian, is considered by many the most exciting young paddler in the world.

He scored silver in a hard-fought Olympic race in which he finished second behind fellow Hungarian Balint Kopasz.

The race was Varga’s first major international 1,000 meter race. In doing that, Varga left two former world champions and a string of other world class paddlers in his wake.

Other Olympic medalists who are confirmed starters for the festival  are Laurence Vincent-Lapointe, Canada, silver, and Liudmyla Luzan, Ukraine, bronze.

The ICF Super Cup will once again showcase some of the world’s best canoe sprint paddlers in a modified format that provides a showdown between the fastest and the strongest.

Saturday’s  invitational Super Cup was originally scheduled for 2020 but COVID-19 forced a postponement.

The festival will feature canoe and kayak races over 350 meters for men and women, as well as a mixed race.

It will be televised live on networks around the globe.

There will also be a one kilometer race that will feature a portage.

Oklahoma City’s boathouse district features a world-class 4,000-meter race and training course.

Excellent lighting will give athletes a rare opportunity to race at night.

The Oklahoma City event is ideally timed to allow athletes to maintain race fitness between the Tokyo Olympics and the ICF canoe sprint world championships next month in Copenhagen.

The full festival schedule is as follows:

Friday – ICF Super Cup world party, extreme slalom & ICF ranking race, both 7 to 9 p.m.; freestyle kayaking demonstation by Dane Jackson and Evy Leibfarth, 8 p.m.

Saturday – whitewater kayaking clinic by Dane Jackson, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; ICF Super Cup Sprint Portage Race, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.; ICF Super Cup heats and quarter finals, 4 to 6 p.m.; Great Paddle Youth Event, 6 p.m.; ICF Canoe Sprint Super Cup finals, 8 to 10 p.m.

Sunday – whitewater kayaking clinic by Dane Jackson, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will be ACA national race events on tap Sunday through Tuesday.


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