Going for Gold in 2012
By Jennifer Seigler
Daniel and Thomas Purcell are on a quest for gold at the 2012 Olympics in London.
The two brothers, aged 25 and 23, began their whitewater canoe slalom careers when they joined Cottonwood Kayak Club. The encouragement to join the club came from their mom, who thought it would provide strengthening and conditioning during the boys’ hockey off season. Daniel, who was 14 at the time, had constant shoulder injuries from hockey; he agreed that the rowing would help improve his upper-body strength. His 12-year-old brother Thomas quickly joined in. Little did their mother know she was encouraging a path that would inspire her sons to shoot for an Olympic gold medal.
Daniel and Thomas’s slalom careers were off to a successful start in that very first year as part of the Cottonwood Kaki Club zone 4 team, as the brothers won their event at the Alberta Summer Games. That hooked them on their new-found sport and they began to dedicate countless hours to training and preparing for competitions. During their time with the club, the two held the national title for four consecutive years. While training, they continued to attend school as usual, and both graduated high school and have gone on to college. Daniel attends the University of Lethbridge, where he is studying commerce marketing while Thomas is studying geology at Mount Royal University. In order to keep up their training, they attend classes in the fall semester and devote the spring and summer to competitions.
They have had the opportunity to train in Ottawa with the Canadian national team head coach and most recently in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the official U.S. Olympic training site for whitewater slalom. While training at the U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC), they competed and won the 2011 USNWC Slalom Race. Earlier this year, Team Purcell took the C2-M class at the Canoe Slalom Pan American Championships. Daniel and Thomas also won the C2-M class title at the 2011 Pan American Championship this year in Mexico. When the two are not training for a specific event, they spend time working out and training on their home course in Kananaskis, Alberta. In the new year, they will be off to Brazil preparing for the 2012 Olympic qualifications in March.
Whitewater canoe slalom is a relatively small sport that does not have the funding infrastructure of better-known sports so teams need to be self-funded and to find their own sponsors. Singletouch is proud to be one of many supportive sponsors that Daniel and Thomas have attracted. Singletouch CEO believes the brothers have an excellent shot at making the Canadian Olympic team for the 2012 London games.
As the two brothers gear up for their Olympic qualifying tournaments in March, their journey takes them to train in Brazil and we will be cheering them along.