Former Ballenas graduate and Parksville resident Kai Langerfeld is back in Victoria after a successful journey at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.
The 28-year-old Langerfeld captured two gold medals with his teammates on the water in both the men’s coxless four and men’s eight rowing events.
Winning the gold on home soil was a memorable experience but it’s just one step on the path to qualifying for the Olympics next year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“It felt amazing,” said Langerfeld from his home in Victoria. “To be able to win gold for our country, in front of our Canadian fans in Canada, there’s no better feeling.”
“We had high expectations of ourselves in both events and knew that we had a good shot to win. But just that feeling of doing it for your country, that really meant a lot and made it all the more special for all of us.”
Langerfeld and company did what they set out to do, capture gold in both rowing events and did so not long after a solid showing at a World Cup event in Varese, Italy.
In the men’s four final, Langerfeld and his teammates managed a third place finish in a very tight race. The finish came with less than one second separating the Canadian team from the first place Americans.
“We had a good showing there,” he said. “Going in to that event, we weren’t really sure what to expect from ourselves.”
“We knew we’d be competitive but we had no idea where we’d place. So to have that result, it was a positive step in the right direction for us before the Pan Am Games, for sure.”
Now Langerfeld will get right back into training, as he and his team prepare for their next event in France, where they hope to qualify for the Olympics.
“Our coach is going to put us through the paces,” he said. “Right now, we’re really just focusing on the next month and a half of training, which will lead in to the qualifiers in France.”
“Hopefully everything will go well there and we can qualify for the Olympics, then that’s when we’ll be able to really settle in and focus on that. It’s one step at a time really.”
“There’s plenty of work to be done between now and the end of August, where the qualifier in France will take place. Having a few days off after his return from the Pan Am Games, it’s going to be all about the training from this point on.
“Lots of work to put in,” Langerfeld said. “We’ll be going out and training seven days a week, with about a half day off every Sunday.”
“It’s a lot of work but we know what’s ahead of us here and we know how hard we’re going to have to work to get to where we want to be.”
“The Olympics is the goal here but to get there we have to make it through France first, so all the hard work right now is building towards it.”