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LCKC member Hornsby paving the way forward

Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club has first Olympian

POSTED: August 2, 2012 7:41 p.m.
For The Times/

Tim Hornsby, a Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club member, is the first LCKC member to reach the Olympics.

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Next week, members of the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club will become, at least temporarily, very early risers.

LCKC member Tim Hornsby is to blame.

Hornsby, 26, who joined the club in 1997 after the Atlanta Olympics held its rowing events at Lake Lanier, will be competing in the flatwater sprint kayak event in the London Olympics. He is the first LCKC member to reach the sport’s highest level.

The first heats for the Sprint Men’s K1 200-meter event begin at 9:30 a.m. London time — 4:30 a.m. Eastern time — on Aug. 10 at the Eaton Dorney Rowing Centre outside of London.

“As early as it is, it’s hard to get all together to watch, but we’re all planning on watching it,” said LCKC president Kevin Seitz, who has been with the club since 2006.

“Everybody at the club’s excited because it’s the next step for the club: the first Olympian.”

Seitz added that previous Olympians have trained at the course that once hosted the Olympic rowing and kayaking events, but Hornsby is the first “home-grown” Olympian.

Hornsby, who grew up in Atlanta but currently lives in San Diego, attended Lakeside High in Atlanta and graduated in 2004. According to Team USA’s official release, Hornsby has been on the water since age 11 when he learned to paddle at spring break camp.

Seitz said he has always been one of the top athletes at the club, but not neccesarily the top choice to become the club’s first Olympian.

Hornsby just kept working.

“Tim’s worked hard, continued to grow, and that culminated in him making the Olympics this year,” Seitz said. “He’s always been one of the top athletes, but a lot of it is his dedication and hard work.”

That was clear during the qualification process leading up to London.

Hornsby won the Men’s K1 200-meter event at the 2011 Sprint National Championships at his home turf in Gainesville on Aug. 6, 2011. But teammate Ryan Dolan qualified the Olympic boat slot for the Team USA at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, later that year.

Hornsby pulled even with Dolan in the Olympic selection process by winning the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Oklahoma City on April 20, forcing a race-off between the two at the first two 2012 World Cups in Hungary and Germany. Hornsby clinched the spot with a 14th place finish at the World Cup No. 2 in Duisburg, Germany, on May 27.

While this is the first time he has clinched a spot in the Olympics, it’s not his first trip. Hornsby attended the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as a training partner for U.S. Olympian Rami Zur.

This time he’s there to compete, not to mention raise the bar for a club forever tied to the Olympics.

“The long-term goal when the club was set up was to develop Olympians,” Seitz said. “He’s the first, but I think we’ll see many more coming forward. A high proportion of Team USA athletes are from LCKC, and many will grow into the next Olympic athletes.”

And the future stars will have the chance to learn from Hornsby who, after the Olympics, will be back in Gainesville to train and share his experiences.

Seitz doesn’t see Hornsby as the culmination of the club’s goals, but just the beginning.

“Everybody at the club is really excited that finally, one of our own as made the Olympic team,” Seitz said. “We see this as the tip of the iceberg. In the future we will see a lot of Olympians coming from LCKC.”

In the meantime, the club members will gladly endure a couple of early mornings to watch, on a livestream from, a fellow member compete at the highest level.


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