Ballenas graduate going for gold

Kai Langerfeld didn’t even like rowing when he first started following in his father’s rowing wake

Kai Langerfeld

Kai Langerfeld

Ballenas Secondary School graduate Kai Langerfeld had to wait four years for his first chance to compete in the Summer Olympics.

One extra day proved no trouble at all.

Langerfeld and his teammates on Canada’s men’s coxless four rowing team waited out a cancellation of their opening heat Sunday in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, then on Monday morning moved one step closer to a possible medal by advancing into the semifinals.

“I think for us, if we race the best we can, I actually think we have a really good shot at medalling,” Langerfeld told The NEWS just before his departure to Rio. “And if we have a special race, we realistically could win.”

“I think all four of us believe we can win, and think that’s a pretty realistic goal.”

The Canadians were second in their opening heat, behind defending world champion Italy and just ahead of the U.S. The finish moved Canada into Wednesday morning’s semifinals, where a strong showing could vault the team into the medal final this Friday.

Langerfeld is teamed on a squad nicknamed the “True North Four” with Will Crothers, Conlin McCabe and Tim Schrijver. Crothers and McCabe both won silver medals in the 2012 London Olympics with Canada’s eight-man team before switching to fours.

Canada does not have a strong history in four-man rowing, Langerfeld said, but the team is tight-knit — all three of his teammates attended the University of Washington — and, of course, boasts Olympic experience.

“It was like a huge transition, not only for me but for everybody,” he said of the move into a four-man boat. “The history in Canada is rowing in the eight. I’m not sure who made the decision; they were probably thinking we could go in smaller boats and win more medals. But there’s gonna be a challenge in that.”

The quartet qualified for the Olympics with their fourth-place finish in the 2015 World Championships in France last September, narrowly missing out on a podium finish.

Langerfeld follows in the footsteps of his father, York Langerfeld, who rowed for Canada in the Montreal Games in 1976. But he didn’t exactly grow up in a boat. His first experience with rowing, when his father took him out as a 13-year-old, was nearly his last.

“Initially, I hated it,” said Kai.

It would be eight more years before Langerfeld decided he wanted to get into a team sport and joined the novice team at the University of Victoria, where he transferred after initially attending Camosun College following his graduation from Ballenas.

“Pretty much from the time I started, I knew that was what I was going to do, and I was all-in from there,” he said.

In his second year of competitive rowing, Langerfeld captured two gold medals with the UVic team in the 2010 Canadian University championships, in men’s eights and in coxed pairs. A bronze followed in the 2011 championships, with the UVic eight-man boat.

Later that same season he won a pair of silver medals at the Pan Am Games, and was soon training with the Canadian National Team.

Langerfeld did not make the Canadian Olympic Team for the London Games that summer. But he did compete in the Olympic-year world championships, taking home bronze in the coxed pair.

Since being teamed with Crothers, McCabe and Schrijver in 2014, Langerfeld has won a World Cup medal — his second — and claimed a pair of golds in last year’s Pan Am Games in Toronto.

“I was in their training group in 2012, and the next year when the Canadian Team decided to put a four together, those guys were left over because they didn’t retire,” said Langerfeld.

“I definitely would like to do another Olympics; I’ll do this another four years, for sure,” he said. “But it’s one of those things where you don’t have any idea if someone is going to retire or what else might happen.

“Basically, this is all you focus on. Once you finish the Olympics, it’s kind of a fresh start again.”

And does dad ever give Kai an “I told you so” over his son’s vowing never to row again after that first, ill-fated outing?

“No,” Kai said with a laugh. “But I’m sure he probably thinks that in the back of his mind.”

Just Posted

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van burst into flames just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville will host the 2021 B.C. Junior Golf Championships. (PQB News file photo)
Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville to host 150 of B.C’s top junior golfers

Provincial boys and girls championship begins June 28

Hannes Grosse, left, and Iris Steigemann, right, as they prepared for their 'Moments of Silence' exhibit. The father-daughter duo are showing at The Old School House Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach until June 26. (Submitted photo)
Cortes Island artists exhibit at Qualicum Beach’s TOSH in first father-daughter show

Both artists will be present at shows on Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26

The Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society will get more funding from the Regional District of Nanaimo. (Submitted Photo)
More PQB communities to fund Lighthouse Country Marine Rescue Society

RDN to introduce amendment to service bylaw contribution

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

Most Read