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Local Olympic Spotlight: PA Native, Casey Eichfeld, Hoping to End American Medal Drought in Canoe

Drums, PA native Casey Eichfeld (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Drums, PA native Casey Eichfeld (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)


Pennsylvania native Casey Eichfeld is hoping to end the American men’s drought in the canoe slalom, after securing his third Olympic trip.

Eichfeld punched his ticket to Rio at the Olympic Trials, where he won the American title in the men’s singles canoe slalom. Later on at the Trials, he also won the double’s race with Devin McEwan, a Salisbury, Connecticut native, who is the son of one of the original canoeists on the American team in the 1972 Munich games.

Eichfeld, 26, participated in the doubles event in Beijing eight years ago, but didn’t do well, finishing in 11th. He then ditched doubles as part of his resume, and began doing only singles races, and qualified for London. There, he finished poorly again, not making the final and finishing in 14th. He has been the reigning national champion in singles slalom for the past five years.

However, this season, he has begun to turn it around. He won gold in both events at the Pan-Am games in 2015, as well as a fourth place finish in the singles event at the world championships. He had a bronze, but got a two-second penalty for touching a gate, which dropped him from third to fourth place.

Considering his fourth place finish against the world’s best in the world championships last year, it’s reasonable to assume that Eichfeld can compete for a medal in Rio. He has to race his best, and also his cleanest, but it isn’t a stretch to assume that he could find his way on the podium. In the doubles his chances are reduced significantly, and simply making the finals would be a marked achievement. He would be the first male American to medal in an Olympic games since the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

Eichfeld graduated from The Keystone School in 2008, which is a distance learning online high school based in Pennsylvania. He decided to forgo the traditional college route, instead opting to pursue a career as a canoeist. He took dance for several years in order to gain flexibility and strength, specifically in his back.


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Dan is a Staff Writer here at with a focus on Team USA and the Rio Olympics
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