The road to Rio leads through California for rower Kai Langerfeld, who hopes to find himself in one of the four seats on the water in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Langerfeld, from Parksville, is currently in California with his team, working hard on and off the water. They will take part in what Langerfeld deems a “rowing camp” after their cross-training camp in Thousand Oaks, California.
“It’s been good so far,” Langerfeld said. “We’ve been coming down here quite a bit, we make at least two trips down every year. It’s like our home away from home, we’re able to get away down there and really focus in on training. It’s been great so far and we’ll continue to push ourselves as hard as we can while we’re down here for another two weeks.”
Langerfeld and his crew will travel back to Europe in early April for a friendly race in Italy. From there, the World Cup events will come around (also in Europe) to help them gear up for their final push towards making it to the Summer Olympics in Rio.
“It’s an exciting feeling for sure,” Langerfeld said. “Nothing is final just yet but we’re continuing to work hard towards making it there.”
“We still need to do what we can to make the boat, so we’ll be working on that. The plan is to train with the group of four we’ve got right now, train until April and take part in all those races to get us ready for Rio.”
Langerfeld knows a shot at the Olympics is a big deal but he’s trying to keep it in the back of his mind.
“It’s a hard thing to think about,” Langerfeld said. “I don’t want to think about it too much because I don’t want it to become a distraction, especially when I need to really focus. But it’s definitely an amazing opportunity and that’s not lost on me at all, for sure.”
For now he will focus on the work. He’ll look to make another big splash when they head back to Europe, where Langerfeld and his crew earned bronze at their second world cup event in Italy.
“That was pretty exciting,” he said. “Being able to make the podium was pretty special for us. It’s something that we worked real hard towards and being able to make it happen was great. We were close to finishing second in that one too, we didn’t finish too far off so knowing we’re right there means a lot.”
Looking back to the start of his career, Langerfeld had a vision for himself and knew he was capable of getting there, but he still has that last final push to make it come true.
“I could see it, for sure,” he said. “You just never know when you set something out like that, where it’s going to take you. For me, I set the goal of making it to these Olympics and it’s within reach now, so it’s pretty amazing. Now I need to do what I can to make that dream come true.”