Against all odds, Laurence Vincent Lapointe will take part in the Tokyo Olympics as the women’s canoe will make its debut.
Canoe Kayak Canada (CKC) unveiled the identity of its Olympic team on Wednesday after a long and arduous selection process. As of this writing, the International Canoe Federation has still not granted additional entry to Canada, but CKC has decided to bank on its Plan B pending response.
“It’s great to live such an incredible day after two difficult years marked by twists and turns,” said Vincent Lapointe, smiling and very emotional. I am relieved to have been chosen to be part of the Olympic team, but I am also excited and doubly motivated to realize at 29 years old my little girl’s dream of participating in the Games. I had chills when I put on the Olympic team jacket. “
“I’m incredibly happy to get the opportunity to make history for the women who will be making their canoe debut in Tokyo,” continued Vincent Lapointe. It is incredible luck despite all the pitfalls. “
Plan B in action
CKC’s Plan B was to have three athletes compete to determine which of the three girls had the best medal chances in Tokyo taking into account international times. Vincent Lapointe and kayakers Courtney Scott and Lissa Bissonnette were timed in their respective events. They ran in the same lane and at two to three minute intervals to make sure conditions were the same for everyone.
The process was repeated the next day and the results were the same. The three athletes had agreed to this way of doing things.
“The selection process was a good challenge and it was important to find a fair solution for all athletes while taking into account the chances of success in Tokyo,” said the 29-year-old canoeist.
Present during the virtual meeting on Wednesday, CKC lawyer Adam Klevinas provided additional explanations. “Because the International Federation has not yet made its decision, we had to establish a plan B and we decided to evaluate the performances of the three athletes by having as selection criterion which girl would be closest to winning gold. in Japan. In Tokyo, Laurence will compete in C-1 and C-2 with her partner Katie Vincent. “
Bissonnette will be in action if Canada obtains one more place or reservist if not. As for Scott, she will be on the trip, but will act as a reservist, regardless of the decision.
The pitfalls have multiplied for nearly two years for the canoeist from Trois-Rivières. Suspension following a positive test before the start of the 2019 world championship, cancellation of continental trials twice due to the pandemic, second position at national trials in March in Burnaby and a decision on his selection that took a while madmen have paved its winding path.
Despite everything, the 29-year-old says he never gave up hope. “You might think I went through a period of doubt, but I never cared about the possibility that I was not selected. My watchword was that I was going to be ready if I got my chance to go to the Games. I didn’t want to waste time and practice. I would have had regrets if I had not been physically and mentally ready in the event that I was chosen. Even during my suspension, I always felt like I would go to the Games. “
Very satisfied with his form, Vincent Lapointe has high objectives in C-1200. “Under good conditions I’m aiming for a time of 44s or less,” she said. The world record is 44s 3. It’s crazy and ambitious as a goal. I’m incredibly happy with my form and put in some really, really quick times. If the conditions are not ideal, I want to give my best possible performance. If I do my best race I can be better than all the girls who will also do their best race. “
In C-2 with Katie Vincent, the Trifluvienne does not really know what to expect. “Because of COVID-19, we’re just going back to training,” she said. It’s been a long time since we trained together. We cannot compare ourselves unlike the C-1 where I had the chance to check where I was. “
Vincent beat Vincent Lapointe at the Olympic Trials in British Columbia to secure her C-1 spot at the Games, and she is striving for the podium in Tokyo.