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Aspen boater on U.S. Kayak Team

Aspen Times Staff Report

Years of hard work, and hard paddling, paid off recently for Kevin Michelson of Aspen when he was named to the 1999 U.S. Canoe and Kayak National Team.

He won his U.S. team berth after three days of intense racing on the Ocoee River in Tennessee. Competing against a mixture of Olympians, former national team members and up-and-coming paddlers, Michelson finished second.

Michelson spent last fall student-teaching at Aspen High School and training whitewater slalom on the Roaring Fork River in Old Snowmass.

During the winter, Michelson teaches skiing at Snowmass Mountain and does substitute teaching at AHS.

This past winter, he traveled to Texas and La Seu d’Urgell, Spain, for U.S. Team training camps.

For the past three years, Michelson has spent the entire month of April at the Durango Whitewater Center of Excellence preparing for the U.S. Team trials.

That dedication paid off with a fourth-place finish in ’97, a fifth in ’98 and the second-place finish this year.

After that outstanding performance, Michelson is preparing for this summer’s World Cup schedule, with an eye toward the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

The season’s first event will be the Slalom National Championships in Wausau, Wis., July 31.

After that, the national team will travel to Europe for races in Bratislava, Slovakia, Aug. 12-15 and Augsburg, Germany, Aug. 19-22.

The 1999 World Championships will be run in La Seu d’Urgell Sept. 9-12.

This event will qualify paddlers for the Sydney Olympics.

The final race of the 1999 circuit will be held on the Olympic course outside Sydney from Sept. 30-Oct. 3.

Michelson said he intends to make it to each and every event this season.

But in the meantime, the public is welcome to watch him train right here in Aspen.

He has a training site set up on the Roaring Fork River just a half-mile downstream from Henry Stein Park at the bottom of Cemetery Lane.


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