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It is 6:40 am on Saturday morning and I can’t sleep anymore. We were at the finals party until 2am last night and definitely left “early”. I arrived in good form in my checkered flag tie and checkered flag Vans but the USA Team Uniforms by Nike finally arrived just in time for the awards and closing ceremonies. It was great to see the USA Freestyle Team in full “track uniform” and matching. The Europeans always do a good job of that and it is nice not to have to figure out who is from what country for spectators.

After a strip steak dinner, the athletes were called out into the field outside of Wilderness Tours Resort and we were marched into the auditorium with the medalist in the rear. It was incredible walking in with Emily and Dane along side of me. (I gave Emily a piggy back ride in) We each had our own seats, but “somebody” took my name tag off of my seat so by the time I got in I had to share a seat with Peter Czonka and Nick Troutman, which was more fun anyway. The room was so overfull with athletes, and spectators, and officials, that it overflowed and people were looking in all of the windows, were on peoples shoulders, and it was standing room only. Everyone was super excited and the roar of the crowd was unreal. Joe Kowalksi gave up on talking for a period and just let everyone hoot and holler for a few minutes until he organized it into a roar on purpose. The medals ceremony was a well thought out ICF program that follows a strict protocol with lots of pomp and circumstance. Paula Troutman created a beautiful atmosphere with all of the proper flags, flowers, and decorations. Each classes’ medal winners were called up and then announced by name and country to their appropriate position for the ICF officials to present the medals. After all three people got their medals the national anthem of the winning country was played to three rising flags, representing the countries of each athlete on the podium. Emily was the first of the Jackson’s to go up and it was a great thing to see her representing paddling, the USA Team, and Jackson Kayak Team in good form, with the other medalists from France and the Netherlands. Dane was next and seeing him at 13 standing next to two older boys who towered over him was a reminder of just how young he is but how grown up he is too. I felt just like I did the last three times I was on the awards stand, proud of my life and of paddling, and lucky to be there. It is wonderful seeing people you care about in the stands cheering for you.

The final closing moments consisted of the playing of the ICF anthem and the taking down of the ICF flag, and then the Canadian National anthem and the taking down of their flag. Albert Woods and Antoine of the ICF declared the event “closed” and the party began.
David Knight and Phyllis were here at the event, their first world championships and I am happy that we did so well and they could see the All-Star dominate the Buseater Wave. Each Jackson Kayak model is like a child to David and he wants to see that kayak do well so bad. This world’s was incredible for the boat and Team JK.

The Star or All-Star won Men’s, Women’s, C1, and Junior Women. We got a silver in Junior women, a bronze in Junior men, and a bronze in Senior men. I am declaring my coverage of this event closed!