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Tokyo medallist Vincent leads Canada's sprint canoe/kayak team into Paris Olympics

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Olympic medallist Katie Vincent will lead Canada's canoe/kayak sprint team at the Paris Games this summer.

Canoe Kayak Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee announced Canada's 13-athlete roster for the Games on Monday.

Vincent, from Mississauga, Ont., teamed with Laurence Vincent Lapointe to win the bronze medal in the women's C-2 500 metres three years ago as women's sprint canoe made its debut at the Tokyo Olympics.

Laurence Vincent-Lapointe and Katie Vincent, of Canada, hold up their bronze medals after finishing third in the women's canoe double 500m final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Lee Jin-man, The Associated Press)

Sloan MacKenzie of Windsor Junction, N.S., will make her Olympic debut when she teams with Vincent in the event in Paris. The pair won bronze in the C-2 500m at the 2023 canoe sprint world championships, which qualified Canada in the event at the upcoming Olympics.

The duo also won gold at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games and are coming off a silver medal at a World Cup stop in Szeged, Hungary in May.

"It's hard to find the words in this special moment," Vincent said in a release. "After the Tokyo Olympics, I had no idea what the road to Paris was going to look like, there were many unknowns.

"To be here today with new coaches and teammates going to my second Olympics gives me so much pride and joy. I can honestly say we have one of the best teams in the world both on and off the water and I can't wait to enjoy the next six weeks with my teammates and coaches."

Sophia Jensen of Chelsea, Que., will also compete in sprint canoe in Paris.

In kayak, Michelle Russell of Fall River, N.S., will compete in the K-1 500 metres and Ottawa's Toshka Besharah-Hrebacka, Natalie Davison of Manotick, Ont., Riley Melanson of Dartmouth, N.S., and Courtney Stott of Pickering, Ont., will race in the women's K-4 500.

On the men's side, Connor Fitzpatrick of Dartmouth will compete in the men's C-11000.

Laurent Lavigne of Trois-Rivieres, Que., Toronto's Nicholas Matveev, Simon McTavish of Oakville, Ont., and Pierre-Luc Poulin of Lac-Beauport, Que., will race in the men's K-4 500m.

The athletes were selected based on their performances at Canoe Kayak Canada's national sprint trials that were held at the Montreal Olympic Basin over the weekend.

Ottawa's Brianna Hennessy, Erica Scarff of Mississauga and Mathieu St-Pierre of Shawinigan, Que., will race for Canada at the Paris Paralympics.

Hennessy and Scarff reached the podium at the 2023 Paracanoe world championships to earn Paralympic quota spots for Canada. Hennessy took silver in the women's VL2 200 and bronze in the KL1 200, while Scarff finished second in the women's VL3 200.

"I am so excited for my second Paralympic Games. Our team has been working extremely hard to become a medal (threat)," said Hennessy. "I hope that we can make our country proud and bring home some shiny hardware."

Canoe/Kayak Sprint and Paracanoe will take place at the Vaires-sur-Marne Nautical Stadium.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2024.

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