Nevin Harrison, an American adolescent, became the first winner of the Olympic event on Thursday when she took first place in the women’s canoe single 200-meter final in Tokyo.
She won the first canoe or kayak sprint medal for the United States since 1992. The 19-year-old won her race easily, paddling in just under 46 seconds and holding the lead for the majority of the race.
At the age of 17, Harrison won the event and went on to win the world championship. Following her triumph at the Tokyo Olympics, Harrison sobbed. She described herself as “speechless” in a post-race interview.
Nearly 30 years after men were first allowed to compete in the event, the Olympics organisers added it to the Tokyo Games. The competition won’t take place at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
Harrison was the lone participant from the United States and the race’s youngest contestant.
Since Rebecca Giddens’ silver medal in the women’s slalom K1 in 2004 she was the first American to take home a medal in canoeing.
Harrison’s Response to Her Victory
In tears and holding her palm to her lips before paddling in after the finish, the 19-year-old Harrison.
Who won the 2019 world gold at age 17 when the Canadian was serving a provisional drug suspension that was later overturned, entered the water.
At the medal ceremony, she once more had to hold back tears as she cradled the gold medal next to her cheek.
Harrison, a native of the Seattle region who has been training close to Atlanta for the past year, had a reputation for crying before races as a way to let off steam.
She had all the drive and poise required to overtake her main adversary and overtake Vincent Lapointe’s early lead.
Since there are so few elite American kayakers and canoeists, when Nevin Harrison was growing up in Seattle, athletes from other sports, including Gabby Douglas and Allyson Felix, served as his role models.
Now that the 19-year-old has won the women’s canoe single 200m sprint on Thursday in the flat-water race’s Olympic debut, aspiring American canoeists can look to her as an icon.
The talent pool is still small for canoe or kayak sprinters from the US, but Harrison is unquestionably a world-renowned athlete in the discipline.