GAINESVILLE, GEORGIA, USA (May 7, 2016) – Two-time World Champion and Olympic bronze medalist Mark de Jonge has qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Today he won the Men’s K1 200m final at Canadian Sprint National Team Trials on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia, USA.
“Everything is going to plan and especially early in the season it’s encouraging to have a good race and know that everything is starting off well,” said de Jonge. “I’ve got a few races ahead to tune and tweak things and I’ve got big goals for Rio.”
de Jonge won today’s race by 0.84 of a second. Alex Scott (Bedford, NS) was second and Étienne Morneau (Québec, QC) was third. With de Jonge’s status as the current World Champion, he only needed the one win to seal the deal while most selections races are a best two out of three format.
Since earning an Olympic bronze medal in 2012, de Jonge progressed to a silver at Worlds in 2013, followed by two straight gold medals at the 2014 and 2015 World Championships. He will compete at three World Cups in Europe on consecutive weekends beginning May 21.
In the Women’s K2 500m, Michelle Russell (Fall River, NS) and Madeline Schmidt (Ottawa, ON) paired up to take the first win. A second final will take place tomorrow morning at 9:30 EST with a potential race-off in the afternoon if the winning crew is different.
Russell qualified the quota spot for Canada in the Women’s K1 500m last year at World Championships but she was beat out for the K1 Olympic entry by Émilie Fournel this week. Russell is not eligible to compete at the Continental Qualifier because she has already on the books as having qualified a quota. If she and Schmidt win tomorrow, another crew will need to qualify to K2 quotas at Continental Qualifiers. The K2 Olympic entry would then come down to a race-off at National Team Trials 2 in Montreal from June 24-26. Schmidt is a 2013 Junior World medalist.
Additional races were held in the Men’s K1 1000m and Men’s C1 1000m to assess Sport Canada carding and additional selection opportunities. Angus Mortimer (Ottawa, ON) won the Men’s K1 1000m and Ben Russell (Dartmouth, NS) won the Men’s C1 1000m. In addition to the Olympic qualification process, the trials are also being used to select teams for World Cups, Under 23 European Tour, Pan American Championships (U23), and first assessments for U23 World Championships. For many of these events, multiple athletes can be nominated based on the achievement of various performance standards.