The first-ever Canadian female canoeists to paddle on an Olympic course have officially announced their retirement. Laurence Vincent Lapointe (Sprint) and Haley Daniels (Slalom) have recently stepped away from elite-level sport, leaving an indelible mark on the sport and inspiring a generation to come.
Women’s canoe made its Olympic debut at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games – Over 80 years after men’s canoe was introduced to the Olympic program in 1936. Haley and Laurence were among the many actively lobbying around the world for women to be able to compete on the Olympic stage.
Laurence was the first-ever gold medalist in 2010 when it was first introduced at the ICF World Championships. She went on to win multiple world championship titles on her journey to Olympic silver (C1 500m) and bronze (C2 500m) with partner Katie Vincent in Tokyo. It was a unique and challenging road to success.
Laurence reflected in her retirement announcement saying, “I have accomplished everything I wanted to do by going to the Olympic Games and finally seeing women competing in canoe. Thank you to all those who contributed to my success.”
Haley Daniels is also a passionate paddling pioneer advocating for gender equality in women’s canoe and actively supporting her father’s recent decision to publicly announce his transition to a transgendered woman, named Kimberly.
“My mantra throughout the whole process is to be open and honest,” said Daniels. “I only get one family and one dad, so it was natural to support her transition and welcome this journey together.”
Kimberly became a certified international official for slalom paddling and was selected as an Olympic judge at Tokyo 2020. Kimberly was the first openly transgendered woman to judge at an Olympic Games.
“Sitting at the start line of the first Olympics that women’s canoe debuts as gender equal was the proudest moment I have ever had,” said Daniels via Instagram. “We pioneered a legacy for future women in sport to come and for that I can’t help but smile.”
CKC congratulates both Haley and Laurence on their retirements. We look forward to celebrating and featuring more Olympian retirements in the coming months.