Feature photo: Laurence Vincent Lapointe wins the first ever women’s Pan Am canoe race on July 14, 2015.
While Team Canada was racking up medals all over Ontario on Day 4 of the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, history was made at the Welland International Flatwater Centre.
By winning gold in the C-1 200m event, Canada’s Laurence Vincent Lapointe became the first women’s canoe champion in Pan Am Games history.
The paddler said fatigue was a factor, but she regrouped mentally to see through to the end, winning by over two seconds, which is a lifetime in canoe/kayak sprint.
“I said to myself ‘this is the Pan Am, I can’t give up.’ I gave my all for Canada,” the canoeist said.
“I have the feeling that the whole country is behind me, so if I can make the whole nation proud of me, it makes me very happy.”
Women’s canoe is not an Olympic discipline, reportedly due to a lack of competition, but its inclusion at the ICF World Championships in recent years and now Toronto 2015 – in sprint and slalom (later during the Games) – is a good sign for the women’s paddling disciplines to gain greater acceptance and inclusion in large multi-sport events.
Vincent Lapointe is a four-time World Champion, winning in 2010 and 2011 and then repeating that back-to-back feat in 2013 and 2014 in the C-1 200m. She also won two world titles in the 500m distance of the individual women’s canoe race.