Last Friday afternoon, we lined the banks of the U.S. National Whitewater Center and watched Olympic hopefuls take to the water in hopes to solidify a position on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team.
Slalom kayaking is the only whitewater event to appear in the Olympic games. Racers attempt to make their way from the top to the bottom of a designated section of river as fast as possible, while correctly negotiating gates. Some of the gates have to be negotiated in a downstream position, while others have to be approached from upstream. The placement of the gates and the precision necessary to paddle them fast and 'clean' (without touching a pole) makes the sport incredibly difficult, yet fascinating to watch.