Evy Leibfarth makes Paris team, hopes to be busiest U.S. female kayaker in Olympic history


Evy Leibfarth qualified for the Paris Games in her first event at the U.S. Olympic Canoe Trials.

She hopes to make it in two more and become the first American woman in her sport to compete in three events at one Games.

Leibfarth, a 20-year-old from North Carolina, is going to her second Olympics after earning a spot in the canoe slalom event at trials at Montgomery Whitewater Park in Alabama on Sunday, according to organizers.

She hopes to earn spots in the other two Olympic slalom events — kayak slalom and the new Olympic event of kayak cross. The second and final stage of Olympic Trials is Friday and Saturday in Oklahoma City, live on Peacock starting at 10 a.m. ET each day.

In kayak cross, multiple athletes are dropped into the water from a platform simultaneously to race each other, similar to snowboard cross in the Winter Games.

The only Americans to ever compete in three canoe or kayak events at one Games were men: Ernie Riedel in 1936 and Tony Ralphs in 1964, according to the OlyMADMen.

Women did not have three sprint events until 1984. In the slalom, women will have three events for the first time in Paris after having two events for the first time in Tokyo.

Leibfarth finished 12th and 18th, respectively, in kayak and canoe slalom in Tokyo as the only teenager in either event.

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Evy Leibfarth makes waves as a teen in three different events in one Olympic sport

Evy Leibfarth honed her craft on North Carolina rivers and is now breaking up European dominance in her Olympic sport.

She was one of the few athletes who had family on hand at an Olympics that were without ticketed spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s because her dad, Lee, doubles as her coach. Lee was a national teamer and said he missed the 1996 Olympic team by about two seconds.

A month after the Tokyo Games, Leibfarth won her first senior world championships medal — bronze in kayak cross.

Last August, she won the world junior title in kayak slalom and took bronze in canoe slalom. Then at September’s senior worlds, she had a best finish of seventh among her three events.

The last U.S. medal at the Olympics in a slalom event came in 2004 (Rebecca Giddens’ kayak silver).

Dakotah Lindwurm Fiona O’Keeffe Emily SissonDakotah Lindwurm Fiona O’Keeffe Emily Sisson

Dakotah Lindwurm Fiona O’Keeffe Emily Sisson

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