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Top canoe/kayak athletes to watch in Rio

Lisa Carrington during New Zealand Sprint Team announcement
Hannah Peters; 2016 Getty Images

Top canoe/kayak athletes to watch in Rio

Top six canoe/kayak athletes to follow at the Rio Games

With the 2016 Rio Games around the corner get to know the top six athletes in Olympic canoe/kayak. 

Lisa Carrington

Not only did New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington win gold in the women’s K1 200m at the London Games, but she is also a four-time world champion.

Lisa Carrington at the 2012 London Olympics

New Zealand's Lisa Carrington celebrates winning the gold medal in the women's kayak single 200m during the London Games. Credit: Kyle Terada; USA Today Sports

At the Rio Games, Carrington is the favorite in the K1 200m and perhaps the favorite in the women’s K1 500m – which she won at the 2015 World Championships.

Mark de Jonge

The world's fastest kayaker heads to Rio as the men's K1 200m favorite.

Mark de Jonge at the 2012 London Olympics

Mark de Jonge won bronze in the K1 200m at the 2012 London Olympics. Credit: Kyle Terada; USA Today Sports

The Canadian engineer – who almost stepped away from the sport – failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Games but decided to return once the K1 200m event was added to the London Games lineup.

The bronze medalist in the K1 200m at the London Games is the current K1 200m world record holder.

Jirí Prskavec 

Czech Republic's rising star in slalom kayaking, Jirí Prskavec, was the 2015 world champion and the 2016 European chamion.

Jiri Prskavec at Rio test event

Czech slalom canoeist Jiri Prskavec takes part in a test event for the 2016 Rio Games. Credit: 2016 Getty Images

Prskavec also has five medals in world championship competition. His father, Jiri, was a two-time Olympian.

Jessica Fox

Australia's young Olympic kayaker Jessica Fox won silver at the London Games. 

Jessica Fox at the London Games

Jessica Fox of Australia celebrates her second place finish after the women's kayak single final at the London Games. Credit: 2012 Getty Images

The Red Bull sponsored athlete finished 4th in the K1 and won gold in the non-Olympic C1 at the 2015 World Championships in London. She is the favorite to win the women's K1 slalom event.

Michal Smolen and Casey Eichfeld

Polish-born Smolen overcame his fear of the water, learned to paddle, trained and excelled in competitive kayaking – all in the United States. Meanwhile, Eichfeld had already danced ballet for seven years to help with his flexibility and agility on the slalom course.

Patience pays off for Polish-born kayaker competing for U.S.

Michal Smolen could become the first American to win a medal in singles slalom kayaking.

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Both Eichfeld and Smolen have good chances at earning a medal in their respective slalom event. Smolen, competing in the men's K1 is ranked top three in the world.

Two-time Olympian, Eichfeld, has the experience to earn a spot on the podium. He will be competing in the men's C1 and C2 with teammate Devin McEwan in Rio.

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