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American kayaker qualifies for Paris at Montgomery Whitewater Olympic Trials

In big news for the state’s capital city, Montgomery Whitewater Park hosted the U.S. Olympic Trials for canoe slalom and kayak cross over the weekend. The event drew large crowds of spectators and showcased one of Montgomery’s newest recreational attractions.

Canoe Slalom is described as similar to skiing, with athletes guiding boats around gates but is timed rather than head to head. Kayak Cross, which is a new event in the Olympics, puts four kayakers head to head racing down a section of whitewater while going around gates.

RELATED: Montgomery’s Whitewater Park to host Olympic trials

One of the biggest stories to come out of the weekend was North Carolina’s Evy Leibfarth who clocked the fastest time in both kayak and canoe slalom events. She was the only athlete among the nearly 70 registered to secure an Olympic spot in the women’s canoe slalom.

“This weekend has been amazing for me. I’m really proud of my racing this weekend. Overall it’s been great, emotional, and so much fun,” said Leibfarth. “It’s been a dream of mine to go to Paris for a really long time and I’m really stoked to make that a reality.”

It will be Leibfarth’s second time competing in the Olympics. She first qualified for the games in Tokyo at age 16. At that time she was the youngest athlete competing in Canoe and Kayak Sport in the games.

The final spots for Team USA will be decided in Oklahoma City in two weeks.

The 120-acre park, developed by Southern Whitewater Development Group, is just the third Olympic-level pumped white water park in the entire country.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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