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Nathan John Davis: Olympic Kayak Hopeful

Sean Mitton, Canadian Expat Network
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What do you have in common with Olympic hopeful Nathan John Davis? Maybe you're originally from North Vancouver, cheer for the Canucks, currently live in Charlotte or like the occasional Tim Horton's coffee. Chances are you're currently not preparing for a chance to qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.


Meet Davis an elite Canadian athlete who is working to qualify for the Beijing Olympics in the Slalom Kayak event. For the last six  months he has been training in Charlotte, NC, the location of the qualifying event, to give himself "a home field advantage".  While he is very motivated to qualify for the Olympics, for him and many amateur athletes, it's more about the journey than the destination.


It's been estimated that it takes 10,000 hours to train to the level of an Olympian. For Davis his passion for kayaking and the desire for constant improvement is what drives him. Qualifying for Beijing would be a terrific achievement, but he does not have "five ring fever", in reference to the Olympic symbol.


Davis began paddling on Vancouver's Seymour River at age 12. With a background in ski racing, whitewater slalom came quickly and naturally; at the young age of 17 he won National medals as a high school senior, and later became the youngest athlete to ever make the National Team.


"I have been forced to break the mold in training for slalom excellence: incorporating yoga, dynamic swiss-ball strength training, and at times double the whitewater volume of other top athletes, said Davis. Being grounded in western science and eastern philosophy, kayaking has become simultaneously an internal and external journey.  It is both art and science."


Monday to Friday you can find the North Vancouver native at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte completing two 90 minute sessions a day. Davis stated, "nothing can compare to the preparation you get by constantly being in the water". In the past, he's trained NHL hockey players such as Brett Hedican, Claude Lemieux and Gilbert Brulet with a focus in balance and core strength training


Davis is currently riding the momentum from a recent 2nd place finish in Australia.


You can see a number of World Class kayakers including Davis and members of Team Canada in Charlotte, NC at the U.S National Whitewater Center from April 25-27. Tickets are available at www.usnwc.org .



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