Adam van Koeverden
World and Olympic Champion Kayaker | Sports Analyst, CBC TV
World Champion kayaker Adam van Koeverden first captured the world’s attention at the 2004 Olympic Games, where he was a double medallist with gold and bronze victories. Since then, he dominated the sport, taking silver at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, earning two World Championship titles in 2007 and 2011; being named “Canada’s Athlete of the Year” in 2012; and representing Canada at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Adam shares his story of personal success—infusing it with insight that he’s gained both on the water and off—and how it integrates with strong leadership, overcoming challenges, and the importance of teamwork.
Adam began kayaking at the Burloak Canoe Club in Oakville when he was 13 years old. Not a terribly gifted athlete at that time, he responded to the urging of his mother, who saw a local newspaper ad for the club: “Future Champions Wanted.” Soon after, Adam began to shine.
Today, in addition to his Olympic and World Championship wins, he is a 83-time Canadian kayaking champion, holds a Guinness World Record for paddling the fastest-ever 500 metre in a canoe or kayak, and in 2015 he won bronze in the K1 1000 at the Pan Am Games. Adam was also selected as Canada’s flag bearer at both the 2004 Olympic Games’ closing ceremonies and at the 2008 opening ceremonies. He was named Canada’s Athlete of the Year when he earned the Lou Marsh Trophy in 2004.
In late 2016, Adam announced his retirement from competition.
Adam is an athlete ambassador for Right to Play; a member of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Athlete Commission; involved with the David Suzuki Foundation; and a National Spokesperson for Colon Cancer Canada. He has also spoken on behalf of WaterAid. He also acts as an on-air analyst for CBC Television, most recently covering the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.