ETSU becomes U.S. Olympic Training Site for Canoe/Kayak


JOHNSON CITY (March 17, 2014) – East Tennessee State University has been designated as an official U.S. Olympic Training Site for the USA Canoe and Kayak slalom team, university leaders announced during a news conference this morning.

Through this partnership with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and USA Canoe/Kayak, elite athletes from across the nation will come to ETSU for strength and conditioning training.  ETSU will monitor the progress of these athletes and will also provide education and training to coaches who are part of the USA Canoe/Kayak Slalom team.

USA Canoe/Kayak is the National Governing Body for the Olympic sports of flatwater sprint and whitewater slalom and the Paralympic sport of Paracanoe.  ETSU will work with athletes on the whitewater slalom team.

“The athletes who will be training at ETSU are those who have already competed in the Olympic Games, or are likely to qualify soon for the U.S. Olympic Team,” said Dr. Brad DeWeese, an assistant professor of Exercise and Sport Sciences at ETSU who will lead the new training program in canoe/kayak.  “As the center expands we hope to work with more athletes at all levels.”

DeWeese recently served as a strength and conditioning coach for nine athletes who competed in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.  Two of his athletes, Steve Holcomb and Steve Langton, both won bronze medals in the two- and four-man bobsled events at the Games.

The ETSU center will work with USA Canoe/Kayak to determine which athletes from the national team are eligible to participate in the training program, DeWeese said, and those selected will be brought to campus at least twice during the year.  DeWeese will also travel to other sites to work with the athletes.

“We plan to bring the athletes to campus in late March before the team trials and again later on in the year, three to four weeks prior to the world championship competition,” said DeWeese, who teaches in the Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education.

In addition to strength and conditioning training, the U.S. Olympic Training Site will perform a series of tests designed to assess the athletes’ strength and power characteristics.  The USOC will also provide ETSU with a kayak ergometer, which will allow the ETSU Training Site staff the ability to gauge each paddler’s metabolic ability and work capacity.

“USA Canoe/Kayak has several classes within the slalom races, including K1 (one-person kayak), C1 (one-person canoe), and C2 (two-person canoe), and we will be training athletes from all of these classes,” said DeWeese.

ETSU was first designated as an official U.S. Olympic Training Site for weightlifting in April 2012.  Students from across the nation who demonstrated elite-level potential in weightlifting have been recruited by ETSU and are enrolled full-time on campus while participating in a rigorous training program.  Many have already performed well in national and world competitions.

The training is overseen by Dr. Mike Stone, who is director of the Exercise and Sport Science Laboratory at ETSU and is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of sport science. In 2011, he received USA Weightlifting’s Doc Counsilman Coach of the Year award from the USOC.

Meg Stone, a distinguished strength and conditioning coach and two-time Olympian, directs the U.S. Olympic Training Site at ETSU.

“When we launched our training site two years ago, we wanted to bring students to campus who aspired to compete at the Olympic level in weightlifting, but we also wanted to explore the possibility of adding training programs in other sport competitions as well,” said Stone.  “Having Dr. DeWeese on faculty has allowed us to bring canoe/kayak to our center, and we are very pleased to have this opportunity to provide more services to Olympic athletes.”

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