• Born on this day in 1909, Czechoslovakian flatwater [nowadays referred to as sprint] and slalom canoeist Bohuslav Karlík, who competed from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. He competed in two Summer Olympics, gaining silver in the C-1 1000 m event at Berlin in 1936 and at the age of 43 he was sixth in the 10k C-2 in Helsinki in 1952.  He won won a complete set of medals at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships with a gold in the C-2 10000 m (1938), a silver in the C-2 1000 m (1938), and a bronze in the C-2 10000 m events (1950). In canoe slalom, he won a silver medal in the C-1 team event at the 1949 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in Geneva. A native of Prague, Karlík teamed up with fellow canoeist Jan Brzák-Felix in 1955 to paddle the 118 miles (190 km) of the Vltava from České Budějovice to Prague in 20 hours. He died on 29 September 1996 at the age of 87
  • Egil Vike Søby, born today in 1945, took part in the four-man 1000m sprints for his native country of Norway at the 1968 and 1972 Olympics, winning gold and  bronze medal, respectively.  Between 1966 and 1971 Søby collected six medals in various events at the world and European championships, including two gold medals in K-4 10,00om
  • Australian sprint canoeist Graham Gillies was born today in 1946.  He competed as part of the K4 canoe at the 1976 Olympics, the team failed to reach the final stages of the competition.
  • Norwegian Alexander Wefald, who competed in the 2000s, was born in 1978. He was a member of Norway’s K-4 1000m team who finished, just out of the medals in 5th at the 2004 Olympics in Athens 
  • Stefano Cipressi born on this day in 1982  in Bologna, Italy and has competed at the international level since 2000.  He won a complete set of medals at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships with a gold in the K1 individual and a silver in the team event in the 2006 championships, followed by K1 team bronze in 2010.  He also won two bronze medals at the European Championships. Cipressi switched to single canoe (C1) class later on in his career and finished 13th in this event at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
  • Moroccan slalom canoeist Jihane Samlal born in 1983 in Dole, France, competed at the 2012 Olympics, she competed in the K-1 event where she finished 21st in the heats, failing to qualify for the semifinals.  She was the first Moroccan, African and Arab kayaker to qualify for the Olympic Games, she qualified by winning the K1 slalom event at the African Kayak Championships earlier in 2012. Her historic qualification was the result of  three years hard work focused mainly on intensive training camps in France.
  • Zhang Zhiwu , who was born in 1989 in Fuzhou is a Chinese sprint canoer who competed in the late 2000s and was affiliated to the Sichuan Provincial Canoeing Team. He finished fifth in the C-2 1000 m event at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.


  • Born on this day in 1906, Gordon F. Potter, who represented his native Canada in the 1936 Olympic Games  with his partner Edward Deir and finished in 10th place in the K-2 10K event. He was affiliated to the Gananoque Canoe Club along with his brother Stanley. He was younger than Gordon by some 9 years and also competed at the 1936 Games in the Folding Kayak Doubles over 10k.  A folding kayak is just that – the first workable folding kayak was built by Alfred Heurich in 1905, a German architectural student, he paddled his creation on the Isar River near Munich and took out a patent on the design, called the Delphin (Dolphin), the following year. The Delphin had a bamboo frame with a sailcloth hull stretched over it. It could be folded up and carried in three bags, each weighing less than 4.5 kg.
  •  Ivan Patzaichin, who was born today in 1949 is a Romanian canoe racing coach and retired sprint canoeist. He took part in all major competitions between 1968 and 1984, representing the Dinamo Bucharest club for Romania and competed at five consecutive Olympics, and won seven Olympic and 22 world championship medals, including four Olympic gold medals. This makes him the most decorated Romanian canoeist of all times. He later worked as a canoeing coach, attending five more Olympics in this capacity. In 1990 he was awarded the Olympic Order, and in 2006 a nationwide poll included him on the list 100 Greatest Romanians of all time.Susanne Rosenqvist, Swedish sprint canoer and marathon canoeist who competed in the 1990s, was born on this day in 1967.  She won two bronze medals in the K-4 500 m event in the 1992 and 1996 Games. She also won seven medals at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships with three silvers (K-2 200 m: 1995, K-2 5000 m: 1991, K-4 500 m: 1993) and four bronzes (K-2 500 m: 1995, K-4 200 m: 1995, 1997; K-4 500 m: 1994).
  • Brititsh canoeist Campbell Walsh, who was born today in 1977 took his first strokes in a kayak at the age of eight on a children’s training course at Stirling University. After he completed a degree in analytical mathematics at Nottingham University he began to make his mark on the international scene. In 2004 he won the season-long World Cup series and a silver medal in the K-1 team event at the European Championships, which led to him being selected for the 2004 Athens Olympics. Walsh led the Olympic final at the halfway stage but slipped down to what appeared to be third position. However a late penalty assessed against another competitor elevated him to the silver medal position. He became a consistent medal winner at major championships and won bronze medals at the World Championships of 2006 and 2007 and at the 2006 European Championships. In the months before the 2008 Olympic Games he became European Champion and thus was counted amongst the favourites for Olympic gold but a poor run in the semi-finals scuppered his chances and he failed to reach the final. Whilst 2009 yielded little for Walsh as an individual he gained a team gold medal at the European Championships and a silver at the equivalent event at world level. His sister, Kimberly, also represented Great Britain at international league.
  • Ian Borrows born today in 1989,  an Australian slalom canoeist who has competed at the international level since 2006. He won two medals at the Canoe Slalom World Cup in 2009 and 2010 and qualified for the 2016 Olympics where he finished in 11th place. His younger sister Alison is also a slalom canoeist
  • Another 1989 baby was Montserrat García Riberaygua who was born in Andorra la Vella in Andorran, a slalom canoer who has competed since the mid-2000s. She was eliminated in the qualifying round of the K-1 event at the 2008 Olympics, finishing in 20th place.


  • Henri Eberhardt, French paddler was born on this day in 1913. He won an Olympic silver medal in canoeing at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, finishing second in K-1 10000m behind Gregor Hradetzky from Austria and was placed sixth in the shorter 1000m event.  Twelve years later, during the 1948 London Games, he came third in K-1 1000m behind Swedish Gert Fredriksson and Johan Andersen from Denmark. He also took part in the 10000m event and came fifth. Eberhardt died aged 62 in July 1976.
  • Mexcian Roberto Altamirano was born in 1944, he represented his country at the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games. In Munich in 1972  he was eighth in the final of the C1 1000m event but failed to progress to the final stages four years later.
  • Born today in 1944 Hans Peter Mayr of Austria, a double Olympian whose home club was ATSV Lenzing.  He was eliminated at the semi-final stage of the K2 1000m and K4 100m, at the 1976 and 1980 Games respectively.
  • Fay Ho Kim Fai from Hong Kong was born in 1962. A rower and sprint canoer she competed between the mid 1980s to early 1990s. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, she was eliminated in the semi-finals of both the K1 500m and the K2 500m events. Eight years later in Barcelona, Ho finished 15th in the single sculls rowing event. In March 2014 she stood for the vice president on the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong. However, she failed after gaining only 20 votes out of a total of 58. She is currently the deputy secretary-general of the Hong Kong School Sports Federation.
  • Romanian sprint canoer Victor Partnoi was born on this day in 1970.  He won two medals at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in the C1 1000m event with a silver in 1993 and a bronze in 1994. Partnoi also competed in two Olympics, his best finish being sixth in the C1 1000m at Atlanta in 1996.
  • French slalom canoeist Yann le Pennec was born in 1974 and was affliciated to the Lannion Canoe and Kayak club in Lannion.He won two medals in the C2 team event at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships with a gold in 2002 and a bronze in 1999. He also has two silvers and two bronzes for the same event at the European Championships. Le Pennec finished fifth in the C2 event at the 2004 Athens Olympics. His partner in the boat throughout his C2 career was Philippe Quémerais.
  • Chinese kayaker Xu Haifeng, born today in 1976, represented his country at the 1996 Atlanta Games, but failed to progress past the heat stages in with the KS 500m or 100m events.



  • Jacob “Jaap” Kraaier, was born on this day in 1913 in Zaandam in the Netherlands and was affiliated to the De Geuzen Club in Zaandam. A flatwater canoeist he won K1 1000m bronze at the 1936 Olympics. He died in 2004 aged 90 in Egmond Aan Zee.
  • Gunnar Utterberg, Swedish sprint canoer, who competed in 1000m doubles and fours at the 1964, 1968 and 1972 Olympics and won a gold medal in the doubles event in 1964 was born today in 1942. He also won three silver medals at the European championships in 1967 and 1969.
  • Born in 1960 in Belarus, Yelena Nikolayevna Kurzina, who competed in the 1996 Olympics in the K1 slalom in which she finished in 25th position.
  • Irina Vaag, Russian canoeist was born today in 1961, the winner of five medals at the World Canoeing Championships between 1985 and 1990 – one silver and four bronzes. She also competed at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics as part of the K2 and K4 kayak teams, her best finish being fourth in the K4 500m in 1988. She died at the age of 53 on 12th April 2015 in Guam.
  • Italian Iduino Santoni was born in 1968 in Latina in Italy. He progressed as far as the semi-finals of the K4 100m in the 1992 Games
  • Ondřej Štěpánek, Czech slalom canoeist was born today in 1979. Competing in four Summer Olympics, he won two medals in the C2 event with a silver in 2008 and a bronze in 2004. Stěpánek also won nine medals at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships with six golds (C2: 2006; C2 team: 1999, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2013) and three silvers (C2: 2003, 2013; C2 team: 2010). He is the overall World Cup champion in C2 from 2005. He also won a total of 13 medals at the European Championships (6 golds, 5 silvers and 2 bronzes). His partner in the boat throughout the whole of his career was Jaroslav Volf.


  • Germain P.Van De Moere, born on this day in 1922 in Ghent and was affiliated to the KCC of Ghent. The Belgian sprint canoeist won gold in the K2 1000m at the 1958 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Prague with Rik Verbrugghe. He also competed at the 1956 and 1960 Olympics for Belgium in the K2 1000m and the sprint Kayak relay.  His best finish being sixth in the K2 at the ’56 Games.
  • Born today in 1940, Czech slalom canoeist who was placed 11th overall at the 1972 Olympics in the C2 Slalom. Aleksandar Kerčov was born in 1940 in Belgrade is a Yugoslav sprint canoer who competed in the early to mid-1960s. Competing in two Summer Olympics, his best finish of eighth in the K4 1000m at Tokyo in 1964. 
  • Unto Elo, born in 1944 in Helsinki. He represented Finland at the Montreal 1976 Olympics. He took part in 1975 K4 World Championships1000m with Ilkka Nummisto, Eero Hynninen and Heikki Mäkelä. He was ranked seventh in the K1 10,000m at the same meet. At club level Elo represents the Merimelos, and previously represented Canoa and Marjaniemi Melodi. Ello won 34 Finnish Championships between 1969-1988. He was also successful in age group competitions and won the 55th World Marathon World Championship in 1999.
  • American paddler Lyn Ashton, born in 1951, raced for the Canoe Cruisers Association. Ashton was a white-water kayaker who won the 1972 US title to qualify for the Olympic team. She competed at the World Championships in 1971, 1973, and 1975, with a best individual finish of seventh in 1973. That year she helped the United States win the team World Championship. Ashton graduated from the University of Maryland in 1976 with a degree in botany. She later worked at the University of the South as a director of outward bound programmes.
  • Massimo Moriconi was born in 1956 in Rome. The Italian sprint canoer competed in the K4 1000m at the 1976 Olympics but he and his team were knocked out at the repechage stage of the event. Another sprint canoer,
  • Canadian Greg Smith was also born in 1956. Together with is partner John Wood they won silver in the 1977 Flatwater World Championships in the C2 500m. The pair had previously finished in seventh place at the 1976 Olympics in the same event.
  • Karl-Axel Sundqvist, who was nicknamed Kalle was born in 1962 in Sweden. He was highly successful at the Flatwater World Championships, winning 10 medals in all including: gold in the 1985 K4 1000m with Bengt Andersson, Per-Inge Bengtsson and Lars-Erik Moberg. Among his other medals were a silver in the 1987 K4 1000m with the same team members. In K2 events he won silver in 1993 with Hans Olsson and bronze in the 10000m in 1983 with Bengt Andersson. In single events he collected a bronze in 1985 1000m. He took part in three Olympics – 1984, 1988 and 1992 – he won silver in the K2 1000m at Barcelona in 1992.
  • Chinese canoeist Zhong Hongyan was born on this day in 1978, she has competed since 1997 and has won two medals at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships with a silver (K4 1000m: 2002) and a bronze (K1 500m: 2006). She also competed in two Summer Olympics, her best finish of fourth in the K2 500m at Athens in 2004.
  • Slovakian paddler Ján Šajbidor, born in 1982, slalom canoeist who competed since the late 1990s. He is the European champion in the men’s K1 event from 2007. He also has a team bronze from 2002. Competing at the 2004 Olympics in Athens in the K1 event he finished tenth in the qualification round, thus progressing to the semi-finals. In the semi-finals he finished twelfth, failing to reach the top ten and the final round.


  • American Kenneth James “Ken” Wilson was born on this day in 1938, he paddled for the Inwood Canoe Club in New York. In high school he was a top swimmer. Wilson was US junior champion in K2 1000m in 1956. He competed at the 1956 and 1960 Olympics in K2 events, in 1956 with Edward Houston and in 1960 with John Wolters. Wilson was twice US champion in the K2 1000m, in 1957 with Robert O’Brien and in 1960 with Wolters.
  • Another American canoeist, William Gates was born in 1947 in Beverly, Massachusetts and affiliated to the New York AC.  He attended school at North-eastern University and was US Champion in C1 1000m and the C2 10K in 1968. He placed second in the 1968 North American Championships in C2 10K and raced with Malcolm Hickox in C2 at the 1968 Olympics. Gates later worked in Belgrade, Maine as a plant engineer with Philips Elmet Corporation.
  • Carsta Genäuss-Kühn was born in Dresden, Germany in 1959. She won a gold medal in the K2 500m at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Genäuss-Kühn also won seven gold medals at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships with three in the K2 500m – 1981, 1983,1985) and four in the K4 500m – 1978, 1981, 1983, 1985.
  • British canoeist Alison Thorogood, who competed for the Newham and Essex Beagles in London, was born in 1960. She represented GB at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, in fact in the ’96 Games she was GB’s oldest participant at 35 years and 244 days. Her first experience of canoeing was while on a camping holiday in Wales in 1972. She the trained at the Harlow Outdoor Pursuits Centre and was soon canoeing all over the country, including regattas in Nottingham, before going on to compete in international tournaments, such as the World Championships in countries, such as Hungary and Australia, and ultimately the Olympic Squad.
  • Elisabetta Introini was born in Milano in Italy on this day in 1961. She competed in the early 1980s. At the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, she was eliminated in the semi-finals of the K2 500m while withdrawing from the heats of the K1 500m, that won three international medals in Canoe marathon world championships.
  • Norwegian Harald Amundsen, born in 1962 is a sprint canoer who competed in the 1980s. He won two medals in the K4 10000m event at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships with a gold in 1987 and a silver in 1983. Amundsen also competed in two Summer Olympics, earning his best finish of eighth in the K2 1000m event at Seoul in 1988. His older brother, Steinar, won two Olympic medals in the K4 1000m event with a gold in 1968 and a bronze in 1972.
  • Corrina Kennedy, born in 1970 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He was a member of the Saskatoon Racing Canoe Club, Saskatoon. At the Flatwater World Championships he had the following podium finishes: 1st 1995 K2 200m with Marie Gibeau, 1st 1995 K4 200m with Caroline Brunet, Alison Herst, and Marie Gibeau, 2nd 1997 K4 200m with Karen Furneaux, Marie Gibeau, and the non-Olympian Danica Rice, 3rd 1994 K4 200m with Caroline Brunet, Alison Herst, and Klara MacAskill. She also competed at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, finishing fifth both the K2 500mand the K4 500m events.
  • Great Briton Ian Wynne who was born on this day in 1973, competed for the Royal Canoe Club, London. As a youngster Ian Wynne excelled as a swimmer and it was not until he was 19 that he made a decision to concentrate on canoeing. He moved between the K1, K2 and K4 classes for most of his career and only made a full time switch to the K1 class at the age of 30 in the Olympic year of 2004. Wynne made an immediate impression by medalling in both the 500 and 1000m at the 2004 European Championships and was chosen for the former event for the Athens Olympic as well as the K2 1000m with partner Paul Darby-Dowman. Although the pair were finalists in Athens it was in his solo event that Wynne captured an Olympic medal when finishing third fractionally ahead of a Norwegian rival. He hit the headlines again by setting a record for crossing the English Channel in a kayak in 2007. Wynne later accepted a position as a coach to the British canoe team specializing in the 1000m.  His brother Anthony was also a canoer and competed at world championship level.
  • Mário Ostrčil, born in Slovakia in 1978 is a sprint canoer who competed in the early 2000s. He was eliminated in the semi-finals of both the C2 500mand the C2 1000m at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. His brother Mariain is also an Olympic canoer, who won silver and bronze at the Flatwater World Championships in the C1 1000m class.


1st December

  • Born on this day in 1939. German sprint canoeist Renate Breuer. She competed for KC Charlottenburg and competed in two Olympics, 1968 in Mexico and 1972 in Munich. She won the K1 500m silver in 1968 and in the K2 event four years later was placed fifth. Breuer also won three medals at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships with a gold (K2 500m in 1970) and two silvers (K4 500m in 1966, 1971).
  • Bulgarian Bozhidar Milenkov was born in 1954 and competed in sprint canoe events in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He took part in two Olympic Games, winning a bronze in the K4 1000m class in Moscow 1980 and placing seventh in the same event at Montreal.
  • Konstantin Negodyayev, born in 1967 in Kazakhstan and competed in sprint canoeing at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. His best results were in the C1 500m singles class in both Games where he came seventh. In the longer 1000m event he failed to reach further than the heat stages.
  • Portuguese slalom competitor Florence Fernandes was born in 1968 and finished 22nd in the K1 event at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Four years later in Sydney, Fernandes finished 20th after being eliminated in the qualifying round of the K1 event.
  • Olympic paddler Mia Farrance, born in Melbourne, younger sister of canoeist Andrew, was born in 1973. She finishedShe finished 14th in the K1 event at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics while Andrew, who was born a year earlier, competed for the Canoe Plus Racing Team and the Victorian Institute of Sport in Melbourne. He competed at his home Games in 2000 in the C2 slalom event, where he finished 11th overall.
  • Italian Antonio Scaduto, who competed for the Fiamme Gialle di Sabaidia club was born in 1977. At the Flatwater World Championships in 1989 he won bronze in the K4 500m sprint. He also represented Italy at the 2000 and 2008 Olympics, his best finish being a bronze in Beijing with Andrea Facchin in the 2008 K2 1000m.