Nelson Kayak and Canoe Club’s Jason Rusu learned to paddle and race sprint kayak in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The first paddler from that province to be named to Canada’s national team, Rusu competed at world cups, world championships and the 1992 Olympics. Now 47 and still competing, Rusu was Canoe Kayak BC’s 2016 Masters Athlete of the Year.
In addition to paddling internationally, Rusu is also a NCCP Level 3 Certified Coach. As a leader in paddling sports in both B.C. and Alberta, Canoe Kayak BC caught up with Jason Rusu to lead off our Legends’ Series.
What are your career highlights?
- First Saskatchewan sprint paddler named to National and Olympic Canoe/Kayak Team
- National Champion Junior Men's K-4 (Saskatoon Racing Canoe Club)
- 1992 World Cup, Szeged, Hungary: 9th K-2 1000m
- 1992 Olympic Games, Barcelona: 16th K-2 1000m
- 2003 World Championships, Gainesville, Georgia: 9th K-4 500m
What makes paddling a great sport?
- Being on the water and in the solitude of the natural environment
- The power and speed of sprint paddling combined with a smooth-running boat
- The camaraderie of the training group
- The lifelong friendships forged on the water
What are your contributions to paddling in B.C.?
- Regional Coach: False Creek Racing Canoe Club and Burnaby Canoe & Kayak Club (1994-1997)
- Coach and President: Nelson Kayak and Canoe Club (2014 - Present)
Any other involvement in paddling?
I also served as the head coach in Calgary for a total of three years between 1997 and 2005 and served as Vice President and President on the Alberta Sprint Racing Canoe Association from 2004 - 2008.