HOW IT ALL BEGAN   ACHEIVEMENTS SO FAR

Slalom kayaking is my life. Unfortunately, I cannot fit my whole life story into one small paragraph, but I will give it my best. My story is very complex and seems to get more exciting day by day. And, as with any other story, there was a beginning…

I moved to the United States at the age of ten [I was born in Poland and spent the first ten years of my life there]. My father was a kayaking coach for the Nantahala Racing Club in Western North Carolina. It was there, where the mighty Nantahala river runs wild, that I had my first experience paddling. I quickly grabbed a kayak that was way too big for me, put on a helmet that was way too loose on me, and grabbed a paddle that was way too long for me. I looked awesome!

I was very excited to finally try kayaking myself after watching my dad do it back in Poland. I guess you could say: “like father, like son,” huh?  Well, once I got into my kayak, the excitement I had before seemed to have disappeared immediately. The first thing that came to my mind when my dad pushed me into the river was, ‘I can’t swim!’ To this day, I remember how frightened I was. I even remember telling myself that I would never get into a kayak again. But this was only the first experience, and one of many. In the following years, I joined a swim team and become more comfortable with the water. I was still scared, don’t get me wrong. It took me about three years to get over my fear of kayaking. Once I finally got over my fear, things began to change. I loved kayaking! I wanted to do it every day. I started training more and more, and before I knew it, I was preparing for my first Junior World Championships.

 
2014
WORLD CUP BRONZE
WORLD CUP
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
WORLD CHAMPION
U23 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
2012
USA NATIONAL CHAMPION
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
DEEP CREEK, USA
9TH
WORLD CUP
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
5TH
U23 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
WAUSAU, USA
2ND
USA OLYMPIC TRIALS
CHARLOTTE, USA
2011
1ST
USA NATIONAL TEAM TRIALS
CHARLOTTE, USA
2010
4TH
JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
FOIX, FRANCE
 
PERSONAL INFO
FULL NAME
MICHAL BARTOSZ SMOLEN
DATE OF BIRTH
SEPTEMBER 13, 1993
WEIGHT
150 LBS
HEIGHT
5' 11"
HOME TOWN
NOWY SACZ, POLAND
 
FUN FACTS
HOBBIES
WEBDESIGN, TV, BASKETBALL
FAVORITE PLACE VISITED
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
FAVORITE TV SHOW
BURN NOTICE
MOST SIGNIFICANT LIFE EXPERIENCE
BECOMING A US CITIZEN
 
WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT

IN WHITEWATER SLALOM, ATHLETES HAVE TO NAVIGATE THEIR CANOE OR KAYAK THROUGH GATES AS THEY WORK THEIR WAY THROUGH 300M OF WHITEWATER RAPIDS IN THE FASTEST TIME POSSIBLE. HITTING ONE OF THE HANGNING GATES OR MISSING ONE COMPLETELY RESULTS IN TIME PENALTIES WHICH ARE ADDED TO THE PADDLER'S TIME AT THE END OF HIS OR HER RUN. A 2-SECOND PENALTY IS GIVEN FOR A TOUCHED GATE, AND IF THE GATE IS MISSED COMPLETELY THERE IS A 50-SECOND PENALTY. THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 18-24 HANGING GATES FOR EACH COURSE. THE GATES ARE COLOR-CODED TO INDICATE WHICH DIRECTION THE PADDLER MUST PASS THROUGH. GREEN GATES ARE NEGOTIATED HEADING DOWNSTREAM WHILE RED GATES REQUIRE THE PADDLER TO REVERSE DIRECTION AND PASS THROUGH THEM HEADING UPSTREAM.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH FOR YOURSELF.

 
I am now twenty years old and no longer afraid of the water. I still love kayaking just as much as I did when I was just a child and nothing makes me happier than being out on the water and pushing myself to go as fast as I can possibly go. Kayaking is my passion… it makes me who I am.
"Doing what you love is freedom, loving what you do is happiness."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  about support stay updated social
  - About Canoe Slalom - Make a Donation - Latest News - Facebook
  - Rules & Regulations - Michal's Sponsors - Upcoming Events - Twitter
  - USA National Team - Become a Sponsor - Recent Results - Instagram
Copyright © Michal Smolen 2014