Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The ACA's Olympic History

ACA Olympian
To move forward we must, from time to time, cast an eye astern.

Historian Daniel Boorstin wrote “trying to plan for the future without a sense of the past is like trying to plant cut flowers”. So, I’d like to share a story written by a longtime member of the ACA, Dusty Rhodes (1913-2007). Dusty is remembered as a great story teller and this was written by him in the early 1950’s.

“After the great Frank Havens returned from the 1952 Olympics all of the Washington Canoe Club paddlers were gunning for him. You see the ’52 Games were Frank’s second Olympics and in his first games in ’48 he got Silver in the C-1 10,000m race but in ’52 he came home with the Gold medal. An Olympic champion right here in the Washington Canoe Club doing workouts with the crew on the Potomac River every day. To many of us, the thought was, that if we could beat him in a workout, it was as good as being an Olympic Champion ourselves! Well one day, I was feeling particularly bold and strong and so I waited in anticipation for Frank to come down that night for the evening workout. We pushed off the dock and did our warm up to the mile rock and I knew that tonight was the night. Many boats were out that night so I was eager to perform well and Frank seemed fast in his C-1. The workout was five sets of five minutes on and two minutes rest. In the first five minutes piece I took off fast and never saw Frank for the rest of the piece. Same for the second piece. WOW! Two down and three to go. The third piece was closer but Frank fell off the pace at the end. The final two pieces went much the same as the first three and as the clock ticked off the last seconds of the final piece I felt a period of silent euphoria and took in the moment. The World Record holder has just been beaten in five of five pieces on the Potomac River by ME, Dusty Rhodes! I knew it wasn’t the same as Olympic Glory but I had to savor my moment in time and smile a little smile to myself for my achievement. Finally, I realized my thoughtless lack of respect and realized I needed to compliment the man who really and truly helped to make tonight’s special moment happen. I turned to Lou, my K-2 partner, and said “Good work out partner, we got him tonight!”

The ACA has a rich history. To learn more visit our History webpages.

Kirk Havens & SonSee you on the river!

Kirk Havens, President
American Canoe Association

No comments:

Post a Comment