Thirteen canoe/kayak sprint athletes named to Canadian Olympic Team for Paris 2024

MONTREAL (June 24, 2024) – Canoe Kayak Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee have announced the roster of Team Canada canoe/kayak sprint athletes nominated to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The athletes are:

Women’s Canoe
Sophia Jensen (Chelsea, Que.)
Sloan MacKenzie (Windsor Junction, N.S.)
Katie Vincent (Mississauga, Ont.)

Women’s Kayak
Toshka Besharah-Hrebacka (Ottawa, Ont.)
Natalie Davison (Manotick, Ont.)
Riley Melanson (Dartmouth, N.S.)
Michelle Russell (Fall River, N.S.)
Courtney Stott (Pickering, Ont.)

Men’s Canoe
Connor Fitzpatrick (Dartmouth, N.S.)

Men’s Kayak
Laurent Lavigne (Trois-Rivières, Que.)
Nicholas Matveev (North York, Ont.)
Simon McTavish (Oakville, Ont.)
Pierre-Luc Poulin (Lac-Beauport, Que.)

The athletes were selected for Team Canada based on their performances at Canoe Kayak Canada’s Sprint National Team Trials that were held at the Montreal Olympic Basin over the weekend.

Katie Vincent, Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist in the women’s C-2 500m, will partner with Sloan MacKenzie, who is making her Olympic debut. Together they won bronze in the C-2 500m at the 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships, which qualified Canada in the event for Paris 2024. Soon after, they won gold at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games. Vincent and MacKenzie took home silver in the women’s C-2 500m event at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup in Szeged, Hungary in May.

Vincent also remains a fierce competitor individually. At that same World Cup in May, she took home gold in the women’s C-1 200m event. In 2021, just a month after her Olympic debut, she won the first individual world title of her career in the C-1 200m. The 28-year-old was given the honour of being one of Team Canada’s Closing Ceremony Flag Bearers at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.

“It’s hard to find the words in this special moment,” said Vincent. “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!”

Finishing just behind Vincent in the C-1 200m at the World Cup in Szeged was Sophia Jensen, who earned silver. The 22-year-old, who will make her Olympic debut in Paris, won back-to-back junior world titles in the C-1 200m in 2018 and 2019. She went on to win gold in the same event at the 2021 U23 world championships. After her sixth-place finish at the 2023 World Championships, she claimed the final podium spot in the women’s C-1 200m at Santiago 2023. Earlier this year, Jensen was a recipient of the Canadian Olympic Foundation’s Bursary Program for Quebec Olympic Athletes.

“It’s a huge honour to be representing Canada at the Olympic Games. It’s been a dream of mine since I was nine years old so I’m really excited,” said Jensen. “The Bursary program has helped me truly focus on what’s important, being my training and preparation for the Olympic Games! Without financial stress I feel a giant weight lifted off of my shoulders and I just just focus on my well being and my training.”

In women’s kayak, Michelle Russell will make her second Olympic appearance. She competed in the women’s K-1 200m, K-1 500m and K-4 500m at Tokyo 2020. Russell, who won gold in K-1 500m at Santiago 2023, qualified Canada an Olympic spot in the K-1 500m by placing sixth at the 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships.

Courtney Stott, Natalie Davison, Riley Melanson and Toshka Besharah-Hrebacka will all be making their Olympic debuts in the women’s K-4 500m. The foursome competed together at the 2023 World Championships, where they qualified the boat for Paris, and at Santiago 2023, where they won silver.

Tokyo 2020 Olympian Connor Fitzpatrick will compete in the men’s C-1 1000m. He claimed that spot for Canada at the Pan American Qualifier in April, six months after winning bronze in the C-1 1000m at Santiago 2023. Fitzpatrick was an A finalist at the 2023 World Championships. 

Simon McTavish, Nicholas Matveev and Pierre-Luc Poulin will make their second Olympic appearance. They will be joined in the men’s K-4 500m by Laurent Lavigne, who is headed to his first Olympic Games. This crew raced together at Santiago 2023, where they won silver, and at the 2023 World Championships, where they qualified the boat for Paris 2024.

“With Paris around the corner and securing a place on this incredible Team Canada, there are a lot of emotions and pride being nominated to an Olympic team.” said Poulin. “The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games made a mark for me in my paddling career and I’m looking forward to making the Paris Olympics one to remember.”

Since the sport made its Olympic debut at Berlin 1936, 26 medals have been won by Canadians in canoe/kayak sprint, with the biggest medal haul coming from Los Angeles 1984 where six medals were won. Women’s canoe events were included on the Olympic program for the first time at Tokyo 2020. There, Canada claimed two medals, including the bronze won by Katie Vincent and former partner Laurence Vincent Lapointe in the C-2 500m.

“I’m really proud of this team and their efforts over the last three years to get to this moment,” said CKC’s Chief Technical Officer, Ian Mortimer. “We’ve worked really hard at aligning our efforts and our programming and now we look forward to the opportunity to showcase what we are capable of accomplishing in Paris. I’m really excited to watch it unfold at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.”

Canoe/kayak sprint will take place August 6 to 10 (Day 1 to 10) at the Vaires-sur-Marne Nautical Stadium. 

“The performances of the paddlers at the National Trials, held this weekend at the Olympic Basin in Montreal, highlight the strength and depth of Team Canada. The recent successes of the Canadian canoe/kayak sprint team, combined with a well-established tradition of competitiveness, have us excited for Paris 2024,” said Bruny Surin, Team Canada’s Paris 2024 Chef de Mission. “These athletes confirm their status among the world’s best, and they will undoubtedly shine on the Olympic stage this summer.”

Team Canada’s canoe/kayak sprint team for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games also includes the following coaches and support staff:

Chad Brooks (Lake Echo, N.S.) – Coach
Andreas Dittmer (Neustrelitz, Germany) – Coach
Anders Gustafsson (Jönköping, Sweden) – Head Coach
Anna Hetzler (Waverley, N.S.) – Assistant Coach

Support Staff
Dr. Tina Atkinson (Shelburne, N.S.) – Physician
Colleen Coderre (Kingston, Ont.) – Media Attaché
Dave Green (Grand Falls – Windsor, Nfld.) – Massage Therapist
Emily MacKeigan (Ottawa, Ont.) – Team Manager
Shelly Malcolm Beazley (Dartmouth, N.S.) – Physiotherapist
Ian Mortimer (Ottawa, Ont.) – Team Leader
Frank Raymond (Laval, Que.) – Strength and Conditioning Coach
LA Schmidt (Dunrobin, Ont.) – Family & Friends Lead
Penny Werthner (Ottawa, Ont.) – Mental Performance Consultant

Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Organisations.

The latest Team Canada Paris 2024 roster can be found here.



Colleen Coderre, Communications Lead
Canoe Kayak Canada
C: 613-530-6217

Tara MacBournie, Program Manager, Sport Communications
Canadian Olympic Committee
C: 647-522-8328

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