loader image

Paddling to Paris

June 26th,2024 | Sports

Chelsea’s Sophia Jensen has paddled her way to a spot on Team Canada at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics. Her decade-long journey began on the Gatineau River where she trained with the Cascades Club starting around the age of 11. Photo: courtesy Olaf Jensen

She did it! 

Chelsea’s Sophia Jensen is heading to the Olympic Games in Paris this summer and achieving a lifelong dream in the process. 

The 22-year-old sprint canoer secured her spot with a podium finish during the International Canoe Federation World Cup in Hungary last month; Team Canada officially announced her place on their roster on June 24. 

“It’s been a long journey to get to where I am today and I’m just really excited to enjoy the whole process and complete the best race that I can,” Sophia told the Low Down a few days before Team Canada’s announcement. 

Along with Sloan MacKenzie of Nova Scotia and Katie Vincent of Ontario, Sophia is one of just three women chosen to represent Canada in sprint canoeing, a sport she was introduced to on the Gatineau River at Chelsea’s Cascades Club. 

It’s the result of a decade of tireless training, although Sophia’s sights have been set on the Olympics for even longer. 

Sophia’s mother, Alison Amero, recalled that when her daughter was six or seven, Olympic cross-country ski medalist Chandra Crawford visited her school and showed off her gold medal. 

“Sophia was so excited in that moment, it was crazy…I think that’s the moment when she decided she wanted to go to the Olympics.”

Sophia’s parents, Amero and partner Olaf Jensen, are hosting a celebration at Chelsea & Co brewery on Douglas Road in Old Chelsea on June 26 to celebrate her achievement and raise funds for her trip. There will be live music, a silent auction, and even a special beer named after the Chelsea athlete: Sophia Jensen Lager.

It would be hard to overstate how much work goes into clinching a spot on Team Canada: when the Low Down last spoke with Sophia in April, the young athlete described hours of intensive training almost every single day. In fact, at the time she joked that her training “is turning into ‘paddling jail’ a little bit,” but she was confident it would all be worth it in the end. 

With just a few weeks to go until her Olympic debut, Sophia plans to use that time to “finalize all the little details” of her performance with her coaches. Speaking to the Low Down from National Team trials in Montreal, Sophia is headed to Nova Scotia next for still more intensive training before she heads to France. 

Being the mother of a high performance athlete “is fantastic, it’s also challenging,” Amero said, adding “as a parent, when you see that your child has a goal, you want to constantly support them. Whatever they want to do, your goal becomes to support their path.”

Amero expressed gratitude for the Hills community in getting behind her daughter’s dream as well, explaining that Klimat in Wakefield offered her the chance to use their facilities for free to train whenever she was at home, and that the coffee shop Les Saisons in Chelsea helped her fuel up with free coffee. 

“It’s these little things that have really helped to improve her confidence,” Amero said.

Along with her family, Sophia will depart on July 21 for the south of France where she will attend a training camp before heading to Paris on August 2. Women’s single canoe sprint races don’t kick off until August 8. 

For those wanting to schedule watch parties to see Jensen vie for the gold can visit olympics.com/en/paris-2024/schedule/canoe-kayak-flatwater for the full lineup of events.Paddling to Paris

Latest Headlines

News

HELLO SUMMER!

THE LOW Down is on holidays!

The office will be closed from July 10 to July 23. There will be NO EDITION published on July 17 or 24. Our next edition will be on July 31.

News

A fiery 40th

Wakefield’s treasured wooden bridge – a village icon that had spanned the Gatineau River for 69 years – was a fiery inferno. Villagers were out on their docks or scattered along the riverbank, watching the structure crack and bust apart span by span – many of them, like Garnett and her partner, Norma Walmsley, aghast as the violent flames tore through the nearly 90 metres of wood in a matter of minutes. It was precisely 40 years ago from this edition’s publication date. 

Letters

Hills peace and justice group giving us hope

The Editor, In response to Stephanie Turple’s “Upholding western values” (July 3 edition) and what the group Hills for Peace and Justice calls (H4P&J) “‘genocide and colonization’” (June 12 edition) As per the March 26, UN Human Rights Council’s reasonable...

Hard-hitting local news delivered right to your mailbox (or in your inbox!)

Support feisty, independent journalism.

 

At the Low Down, we are passionate about delivering quality local news to Gatineau Hills residents. But passion alone cannot pay the bills.

To help meet the demands of inflation and the costs of producing fact-based local news, we have introduced new pricing options. Our goal is to meet readers where they’re at, and keep our newspaper as affordable as possible.

Print + Digital Subscriptions

Digital Subscription

Support feisty, independent journalism.

 

At the Low Down, we are passionate about delivering quality local news to Gatineau Hills residents. But passion alone cannot pay the bills.

To help meet the demands of inflation and the costs of producing fact-based local news, we have introduced new pricing options. Our goal is to meet readers where they’re at, and keep our newspaper as affordable as possible.

Print + Digital Subscriptions

Digital Subscription