Montgomery, Ala. – Jan 4, 2024 – Montgomery Whitewater Park, Alabama’s new, world-class outdoor adventure park and lifestyle destination, announced today that the American Canoe Association (ACA) has selected it to host the 2024 Canoe Slalom and Kayak Cross Olympic Team Trials on April 13 and 14, 2024. This is the first time Canoe Slalom and Kayak Cross will hold its Olympic Team Trials in the state of Alabama, and the first of two selection events to be held before the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Known as an iconic Civil Rights destination and home to the internationally renowned Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Sites, which have drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors in recent years, Montgomery will now welcome some of the world’s best paddlesport athletes and become part of the Olympic story.
Montgomery Whitewater Park opened in July of 2023 and hosted the ACA’s Age Group National Championships in Canoe Slalom and Kayak Cross. The facility is the newest and most advanced of only three Olympic caliber pumped whitewater courses in America capable of hosting the highest-level international events as well as offering recreational kayaking, canoeing, rafting and instruction.
Canoe slalom is contested by two types of boat, canoes and kayaks. In canoe, a single-blade paddle is used by an athlete who is kneeling in their boat. In contrast, kayakers use a double-bladed paddle and are sitting. Canoe and kayak competitions are timed events where competitors navigate a whitewater course by passing through a combination of gates. Upstream gates are designated by the color red and downstream are green. Time penalties can be incurred for touching a gate (two seconds) and missing a gate (50 seconds).
Kayak Cross is the latest addition to the Olympic Program and will debut in Paris. This exciting new Olympic event puts four kayakers in a head-to-head format, racing down a section of whitewater while negotiating several inflatable gates. The race starts with four kayaks on a ramp above the river. After launching 10 feet into the river, the athletes paddle around a series of red and green inflatable “gates” and complete a full kayak roll under a “roll zone” marker; the first boat to cross the finish line wins.
The Olympic Team Trials at Montgomery Whitewater Park will be open to the public and a schedule will be published when available at montgomerywhitewater.com, along with more information on the park and its other events. This will be the first of two team selection events with the second one taking place at RIVERSPORT in Oklahoma City, OK on April 26-28, 2024.
For images of Montgomery Whitewater Park, please visit https://spaces.hightail.com/space/SdLAn9L4id.
Montgomery Whitewater Park is a 120-acre state-of-the-art recirculating whitewater park and outdoor adventure center located off I-65 in Montgomery, Alabama offering a variety of outdoor lifestyle activities both in and out of the water for all ages and skill levels. Developed and operated by Southern Whitewater Design Group for the Montgomery County Community Cooperative Group, this park was conceived and developed as a large-scale public-private investment to catalyze economic growth and provide health-focused recreation and employment opportunities. More information is available at Montgomerywhitewater.com.
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Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama
“Alabama has a tremendous tendency of stepping into the international spotlight – this time, to welcome the Olympic Trials. Successes like this remind us of our ability to achieve world-class excellence, marking yet another pioneering first and fostering an impact that will ripple across our state's economy and tourism sector. To the athletes and fans converging from across the globe, I'm proud to welcome you to our great state this spring!"
Doug Singleton, Chairman of the Montgomery County Commission
“Montgomery County’s investment in this world-class attraction is paying off – not only in the recruitment of internationally significant events like these Olympic Trials, but also in the Montgomery Whitewater Park’s commitment to introducing more people to healthy outdoor living, and aspirational athletes like the ones we will welcome in April.”
Steven Reed, Mayor of the City of Montgomery
“With this significant win, Montgomery adds another internationally significant achievement, and demonstrates our status as a premier destination for people who seek to better themselves and achieve the pinnacle of success – whether in sports, business or personal development. We are honored and proud to welcome these Olympic Trial events and the athletes and fans that will discover all that Montgomery has to offer this spring.”
Cornelius (CC) Calhoun, President of the Montgomery City Council
“The honor and opportunity to host an Olympic Trials event is something Montgomery has achieved through a visionary partnership between the City, County and community. Together, we’ve created a unique, state-of-the-art venue accessible to everyone – from the world’s best athletes to those who simply want to enjoy the outdoors.”
Leslie Sanders, Chair of the Montgomery County Community Cooperative District
“It has been part of our vision from the outset to create a venue that can attract international level competitions and events – and it doesn’t get any bigger or better than Olympic level competitions. We look forward to further developing the Montgomery Whitewater Park’s potential to have a transformative impact on the state and the region.”
Anna Buckalew, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce
“The Montgomery Whitewater Park was envisioned as a catalyst for growth and brought to fruition by the same collaborative spirit that makes Montgomery a premier destination for a professional sports event on the Olympic scale. Montgomery’s business community is eager to welcome the spectators, athletes and their support teams and look forward to serving and growing along with them.”
Dave Hepp, Chief Executive Officer of the Montgomery Whitewater Park
“We are honored to host the 2024 Canoe Slalom And Kayak Cross Olympic Team Trials and look forward to welcoming these elite paddlers and coaches to experience our state-of-the-art park. We also invite the region to come out and be inspired by these amazing athletes to get out on the water and try paddling for themselves.”
Beth Spilman, Executive Director for the American Canoe Association
“Montgomery had a vision to provide unique outdoor opportunities to its community, and the Montgomery Whitewater Park is the realization of this vision. They have embraced our sport, and we are beyond thrilled to be able to bring the Olympic Trials there.”