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The 2008 World Cup- held over the past three weeks in Prague, Czech, Augsburg, Germany, and Thun, Switzerland has been wrapped up and everyone is on their way home. It was a very heart-warming sight to see the period of time from the Awards on Sunday onwards. It suddenly occurred to everyone that their new friends, hailing from every corner of the earth, were about to leave, some never to be seen again. So many new friends were made, and many tears were seen on boys and girls as they said goodbye, giving their last hugs and kisses, wondering if they will see each other again. Plans were made by many to visit each other’s country and paddle together, or to meet at a common destination, like Uganda, or Canada, or Japan. Others are just hoping to make their National Teams next year for the World Championships, and hope their new foreign friends are successful in that goal as well.

It was a great experience for me, to watch my kids and my team compete and interact in good form. It was also very encouraging to see such great ambassadors from many countries paddling for other teams. Seppi from Germany, Nina and Peter from Slovakia, Jutta, etc. etc. all paddling for competing teams, but showing great ambassadorship for the sport.

The organizers did a great job at the world cup and their efforts were appreciated, but not likely given the proper recognition.

Jasper, only 20 years old, was the chief judge and put in more work than any other person for the World Cup. He was in the hot seat at every event, and literally watched every ride of every class every day, as well as dealing with all of the judges, scribes, scoring, the ICF, the athletes, etc. I am very impressed with his efforts and want to say thanks!

The Thun event was a big event with a ton of support from the city, and it went off quite well in the middle of town with big concerts, parties, vendors, competitors, and spectators. The World Championships next year already has a budget that is 7 times the budget from this year. It is already being dubbed the biggest world championships in the history of freestyle, and it has yet to happen. I am fortunate enough to be guaranteed a spot to compete in tbe worlds because I won the last one.

I hope to have a chance to reflect on the event, with Kristine and the kids, going over the photos that we took, and telling the stories of the trip. Next year, KC will have his first birthday party in Thun, the day before prelims for the Men’s class for the World Championships. That will be cool.

I hope that many of the new friends that we all made this year, will be there next year as well.

It is time to fill out my immigration card to get back into the USA. It is funny that in Europe now, there are no borders, no border police, and going from one country to the next is a pleasant low stress experience, that usually is nothing other than a sign that says, “welcome to Germany” , etc.

See you in the USA! May the Southeast get some of the rain, in moderation of course, from the hurricanes!