Joe Clarke - Olympic Gold Rio 2016
I grew up in Staffordshire and first tried kayaking with a local scout group. I loved it from the word go and joined my local canoe club at the first opportunity I had aged 11 due to me being too young previously. Stafford & Stone CC has bred Olympians and champions at every level so I wasn’t short of inspiration when I looked around for a role model. Training started off just once a week but within a few years my Olympic dream had already taken shape and before I knew it I was representing GBR at the Junior European championships, little did I know that 7 years later I would be lining up on the start line of the Olympic final to take GOLD!
Canoeing has taken me all over the world! I have travelled to places some people haven’t even heard of and have grown an international friendship group as a result of my involvement in paddle sports. I was lucky with the great facilities that we have at Stafford and Stone CC, for me the Paddle Peak Vision is to help to ensure local kids in the and around the Derbyshire Dales area get to experience canoeing and find the love for the sport that I have. In my bias opinion Canoeing Specifically Canoe Slalom in my case is the best sport in the world and it doesn’t get the exposure it should and it certainly doesn’t provide enough opportunities for people to take part, so hopefully with a project like this we can start to bring about some change and get more people taking part!