David Ford has been a member of the Canadian National Kayak Team since 1984. Among his many achievements, David made history by winning Canada’s first ever Gold medal in World Cup competition in Merano, Italy in 1992. Now with his 1999 World Championship title, David has again made history by becoming the first non-European to win the prestigious event. 2003 was another banner year for the five time Olympian. David finished the season as the World Cup Champion and World Championship Silver medalist, as well as being named Canada’s Male Athlete of the Year. 2004 and 2008 saw great performances at the Olympic Games narrowly missing medals with a 4th place finish in Athens and a 6th Place finish in Beijing. Preparing for his sixth Olympics, David will clearly be one of the athletes to watch as paddlers go for gold in London in 2012.
White water Kayaking is a fast, exciting, high technology sport that is a favourite among spectators. The Kayaking events at the last five Olympic Games were among the first to sell out, and were rated very highly on television. Media coverage of this visually dynamic sport will only increase as the 2012 Olympic Games draw closer.
Kayaking requires a blend of power and technique; the athlete must not only be strong, but also precise. Kayaking is also a very natural sport; it is a compelling game of skill against the river. David Ford is an expert river tactician.
Physical prowess is only one part of David Ford’s success. His commitment, perseverance, and drive to achieve his personal goals are remarkable. He is experienced, strong, and intelligent. An excellent representative of today’s achiever, a new breed of Olympic athlete in a dynamic sport that is coming of age.
History in the Sport
David began paddling in Alberta with his parents when he was eight years old. Paddling was a recreational past time for the entire family and stories are told of David being cold and wet and “never coming back to the river again”. Competitive Kayaking was discovered almost by accident when in 1980 at the age of 13 David entered a local kayaking competition and was selected for the Provincial team to compete in the National Championships. Placing 13th out of 14 competitors only served to fuel the fire and Kayaking became the focal point of this determined young mans life. At age fifteen David narrowly missed making the National team by one tenth of a second, and he was not denied when he returned to the selection event the next year and he has qualified for the team in every year since.
The Eighties were spent with Team Mates Roy Sharplin and Bob Smith training under Quesnel Bridge in Edmonton trying to find the skills necessary to be successful in races that would be held half way around the world. Despite several racing tours in Europe, it was not until a trip to England in the fall of 1988 that David learned what being a true champion would require. In 1989 David started finishing in the top ten at world cup competitions, and in 1991 David won Canada’s first ever world cup medal at a competition held in Augsburg Germany. Site of the 1972 Olympic Games.
It has been a wild ride since those early days seeing David rarely ranked outside of the top ten in the world. With the London Games right around the corner and David yet again set as a medal hopeful, the task ahead is clearly defined.