Charlotte, NC

Youngest Paddler in Tokyo Olympics 2020

The Hornet's Nest

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CHARLOTTE – Good news from Davidson! A 17-year-old girl managed to make her debut at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and even became the youngest paddler in kayak slalom K1 and canoe slalom C1 categories.

Evy Leibfarth was born in Sylva, North Carolina, and fell in love with kayak since she was a toddler. Her dad is the person who first introduced kayaking to her. He would take her kayaking while little Leibfarth asked her dad to go faster. Leibfarth got her very first kayak for her fourth birthday party.

She had her first competition at the age of 8 and convinced her parents that she got skills and was ready to pave her way. She entered U.S. National Championship in 2016 and won first place in women’s canoe slalom. At the age of 14, she became the top-ranked female paddler in the country. In 2019, she finished in the 4h place at the World Championship and obtained her spot at the Olympics.

Even though she couldn’t get the medals from Tokyo, she managed to go until the semi-finals in both categories. Apart from being the youngest paddler, she is also the first American to compete in the new women's canoe slalom race.

While being an athlete, she also managed to balance her formal education. She attended K-12 International Academy and her parents have high standards in her education, too. “That’s one of the reasons why I’m so excited to go to Davidson, I feel like people there really take education seriously,” she said.

As a person who takes education seriously, Leibfarth described Davidson College as her dream school. She was excited when she found out that she got accepted and will start her study in January. “I am counting down the days until I get to campus,” she said.

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