Olympian and WNC kayaker Evy Leibfarth win World Championships
West North Carolina Olympian Evy Leibfarth, 17, has proven once again that she can maintain herself among the best kayakers in the world.
Leibfarth, who lives in the small town of Bryson City in Swain County, won a bronze medal on September 26 in extreme slalom at the International Canoe Federation World Championships in Bratislava, Slovakia.
“I can’t believe I’m coming home from the World Championships with a bronze in extreme slalom and sharing the podium with (Jessica Fox) and (Elena Apel). It was really a fight until the end, and I think I only stopped shaking for hours after the races, but I had so much fun, ”Leibfarth wrote on his Facebook page on September 27th.
Fox of Australia, who was the Tokyo Olympics champion in the women’s canoe slalom, won gold at the World Extreme Kayak Championships, and Elena Apel of Germany took home silver.
Previous cover of Evy: Olympic paddler Evy Leibfarth speaks from Tokyo: “I’m already looking forward to Paris”
Extreme kayaking, the newest of the ICF’s whitewater slalom disciplines, entered the world stage in 2015.
This involves the basics of other slalom races, but with added adrenaline – there’s a mass start with four kayaks flying from a 6-foot-high platform to land in one river at a time, the contact is allowed in the bumper car style, and a full 360 degree underwater kayak roll is required, while negotiating giant foam buoys to be the fastest to the finish line.
The sport makes its Olympic debut at the 2024 Games in Paris, where Leibfarth has said she hopes to participate.
The Olympic star: Evy Leibfarth, 17, from WNC, enters Tokyo Olympics as youngest paddler
Leibfarth, who is coached by her father, Lee Leibfarth, and made her Olympic debut last summer in Tokyo, where she competed in WC1 (women’s single canoe) and WK1 (women’s single kayak). She won the United States National Canoe / Kayak Slalom Championships in Oklahoma City in August.
She also competed in these two disciplines at the World Championships last week, placing 11th in the women’s kayak slalom.
Related: Asheville teenager Sam Sharp is the new US National Kayak Slalom Champion
“So close to the final today, but really happy with my run, and a great way to end the kayaking season,” Leibfarth wrote on Facebook.
She is now going home to start classes at Davidson College.
Karen Chávez is a content coach / survey writer for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA TODAY Network, and has covered the WNC outdoor scene for over 20 years. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @KarenChavezACT