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Ottawa athlete heading to Paris Olympics in July: ‘I’m so excited’

An Ottawa athlete has been named to team Canada for the Paris Olympics in July and will be competing in three canoe/kayak events.

Lois Betteridge, 26, will compete in canoe slalom, kayak slalom and kayak cross.

“Canoe slalom and paddling, sitting on my knee with one blade. Kayak slalom, I’m sitting on my bum with two blades on my paddle. And kayak cross, is the newest event added to the Paris Olympics,” Betteridge told CTV Morning Live. 

Though she doesn’t have a favourite event, she likes the adrenaline rush associated with the kayak cross.

“The competition level has been increasing enormously since it was announced it’s been added. So, it’s quite exciting,” she added.

Betteridge’s qualification comes after many years of training, hard work and community support.

‘It’s great to have so many people in the community behind me, including RBC and the RBC training ground program is a really cool way for younger kids also to look at (and say) ‘that could be me one day,” she said.

Initially when she started kayaking at a local club, she was not able to participate in her own RBC training ground event because she hurt her ankle the night before.

“Down at the Ottawa River, the new library that’s being build, it was just behind that. That’s where I started.” she said. “We spend so much time on the water and in the gym and running.”

Ottawa’s kayaker has already started preparing for the Olympics, such as training on the venue in Paris. She notes that she was training in Paris a couple of weeks ago, and is heading back on Sunday.

“Lots of gym still, nothing’s slowing down,” she said.

She wants young athletes to never give up on their dreams while never forgetting to have fun along the way.

“Give it your all. I’ve always come back to ‘why am I doing this?’ And I’m doing this because I’m having fun,” she said.

The Paris Olympics will kick off on July 26 with a wildly ambitious waterborne opening ceremony. But the first games in a century in France’s capital won’t be judged for spectacle alone. Another yardstick will be their impact on disadvantaged Paris suburbs, away from the city-center landmarks that are hosting much of the action.

By promising socially positive and also less polluting and less wasteful Olympics, the city synonymous with romance is also setting itself the high bar of making future Games generally more desirable.

The Summer Games in Paris will last until Aug.11.

With files from the Associated Press 

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