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Canoe sprinter Nevin Harrison trained for Tokyo Olympics at Lake Lanier

Lake Lanier was home base for her Olympic training in a relatively unknown – but extremely challenging sport: canoe sprint.

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Lake Lanier in Gainesville hosted the 1996 Rowing and Sprint Canoe/Kayak Olympic events. And 25 years later, it has been the training place for Nevin Harrison, who could win the first canoe sprint gold for Team USA. 

"It’s a wonderful community that Lanier has, the water is gorgeous the lake is perfect for training," she said.

Lake Lanier was home base for her Olympic training in a relatively unknown – but extremely challenging sport: canoe sprint.

"It’s super unstable because the boat is so skinny," she explained. " You are going to be falling out a lot and spending a lot of time swimming and getting back in the boat."

Canoeing as a competitive sport captivated Harrison when she was about 11, during summer camp. 

The sport requires the kind of athleticism that is not only reached by many hours on the water, but also in the weight room.

Credit: AP
Canoe sprint world champion Nevin Harrison, 19, of Seattle, poses for a portrait before she trains near Lake Lanier Olympic Park on Thursday, July 1, 2021, in Gainesville, Ga. Harrison won the world championship in the women's sprint canoe 200 meters as a 17-year-old in 2019. Now she'll try to duplicate that at the Olympics in Tokyo where the race will be a new event in a bid for gender equity. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

"I never thought I’d be pumping iron to the extent that I am," she said.

"Making sure everything in my body is working properly and ready to go 100%," she added.

Harrison has found her passions, early in life. The water is a place where she can push her limits and reach the highest level of competition. 

"I never in a million years dreamed that I would be 19 and going into the Olympics as a current world champion. It’s so exciting and so happy every time I think about it because I feel so blessed and it’s a dream come true," she said.

Harrison, a Seattle, Washington native, is making her Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020. She will be competing in the women's canoe single 200m.

Results |

  • Women's canoe single 200m qualifying heat | Aug 3 | Harrison came in first in her heat at a time of 44.938. She has qualified for the semifinals

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