U.S. National Whitewater Center

David Boraks / WFAE

  There was lots of cheering at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte Saturday as kayaker Michal Smolen of Gastonia and canoeist Casey Eichfeld of Mount Holly earned spots on the U.S. Olympic team going to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August. 

Smolen finished atop the men’s kayak to clinch his spot. Eichfeld will be going to his third Olympic games after Saturday’s win in the men’s single canoe. 

David Boraks / WFAE

The nation’s top athletes in canoe and kayak slalom are in Charlotte Friday and Saturday competing to represent the U.S. at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. They include two paddlers who moved to Charlotte to be near the U.S. National Whitewater Center, where the trials are being held.

Michal Smolen and Casey Eichfeld are exactly the kind of athletes founders were hoping to attract when they built the U.S. National Whitewater Center near the Catawba River a decade ago.

Michael Tomsic

Mecklenburg County will not make a final $1 million payment to the U.S. National Whitewater Center. County officials have decided the facility is making enough money that it no longer needs taxpayer help.


Michael Tomsic

The Canoe Slalom World Championships are in Maryland this September. The members of the U.S. national team who will compete in those championships were determined over the weekend in Charlotte at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.


Michael Tomsic

The U.S. National Whitewater Center is hosting races this weekend that'll determine who represents the U.S. Canoe and Kayak team at this year’s world championships. It's a key event for a facility in Mecklenburg County that's had its share of financial troubles since opening in 2006 but has emerged from those troubles with the help of taxpayer money. Mecklenburg County and other local governments agreed to contribute up to $12 million to help the Whitewater Center get through its first seven years of business. Now Mecklenburg County officials say the facility is doing well enough that they shouldn't have to make their final payment.


Wunderkind Kayaker Must Wait For Next Olympics

Apr 13, 2012
Tanner Latham / WFAE

The U.S. Olympic Trials for kayak and canoe are taking place out at the Whitewater Center today and tomorrow. It's one of two qualifying events, and those who earn the most points at the events make the Olympic team. But one of the best kayakers on the U.S. national team this weekend doesn't have a shot at competing in London this summer.