By Mat Mikesell | BSU at the Games
Going into the latter part of her second heat in the women’s K1, kayaker Caroline Queen seemed to be putting in another decent qualifying time.
But after she nearly missed gate 21, the rapids had caused her to crash out of the competition as she finished with a time of 136.23. Queen had a few time penalties leading up to the gate and going back against the rapids to return cost her time. It also cost her a spot in the semifinals.
Had she not had to backtrack and return to the gate – which would have cost her a 50-second penalty had she missed it – Queen believes she would have been able to advance to the semifinals.
“”It was going pretty well, I had some penalties,” Queen said. “But I think that the boat was moving well, so I think I would have been able to survive those penalties. But I think I came a little too high out of the second to last [upstream gate], the line was off, I was late in [gate] 20. I was trying to get back on line and didn’t quite do it as effectively as I ought to have.”
The 20 year old was making her first ever appearance in the Olympic Games after impressive performances to qualify for London. After her first heat, Queen was in 13th but was eventually beaten by other kayakers with later runs.
She finished the afternoon in 17th, missing out on the top 15 and a chance to compete in the semifinals on Thursday.
Though Queen could have easily decided to move on from the gate instead of paddling back to it, she said it came down to having heart.
“For me, sport is a lot about heart and that was a heart moment,” she said.
Her London 2012 campaign may be finished, but Queen expects to be back at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016. She’ll be a more experienced kayaker by that time and has learned from her time in London.
“Olympics are an experience that’s different than anything else,” Olympic coach Silvan Poberaj said. “And it can be very helpful if she takes the right conclusions out of this kind of competition and makes a plan for how to go from here and not make the same mistakes and to improve.”
Mat Mikesell is a senior journalism major at Ball State University covering badminton, canoeing and sailing for BSU at the Games. Follow Mat and the BSU team at@MatMikesell, @bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.