Oklahoma City (October 13) – A landmark agreement between the International Canoe Federation (ICF), the American Canoe Association (ACA) and Oklahoma City’s Riversport Foundation is set to reshape the landscape of canoe sports in the United States and beyond.

RIVERSPORT Executive Director Mike Knopp traveled to Columbus, GA, to sign the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Thursday. The agreement is an historic milestone for the sport, solidifying a partnership that seeks to unify the paddling community, expand the sport’s following, and elevate the level of elite competition, all with a focus on the world-class venue in Oklahoma City.

The ambitious shared vision of this partnership is to elevate canoe sports, not just nationally but on the global stage. At its core is the transformation of the RIVERSPORT OKC National High Performance Center into a global epicenter for elite athletes and a premier venue for international competitions.

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Lluis Rabaneda, Vice President of the ICF, stressed the significance of this collaboration.

“Collaborating with venue owners, local authorities, and our national federation is a critical move to take our sport to new heights in a nation where millions participate in paddling every day,” Rabaneda said.

“This partnership underscores our resolute commitment to the promotion of canoe sports through world-class venues. Oklahoma’s track record as a top-tier host for ICF competitions is undeniable, and this agreement is set to further strengthen its standing on the international stage.”

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The newly announced partnership is centered around specific high-performance objectives, including amplifying high-performance activities in the United States, attracting international communities for high-performance training camps, and seamlessly hosting world-class events. The RIVERSPORT venue, with its cutting-edge facilities and unwavering dedication to excellence, is poised to become the premier training facility and a highly sought-after host for major international competitions.

RIVERSPORT will host ICF Sprint and Slalom Super Cups and the Freestyle World Cup in coming years and will be the site for the 2026 ICF Slalom World Championships in 2026.

“We have enjoyed a close cooperation with the ICF and ACA in recent years, with major events such as the ICF Canoe Sprint Super Cup and ICF Marathon World Championships coming to the city,” Mike Knopp, Executive Director of the RIVERSPORT Foundation, said.

“However, this agreement will allow us stand out on the international stage and elevate our position within the world of canoe sport to the very top level.”

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About RIVERSPORT

RIVERSPORT is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers Olympic and adventure sports including rowing, kayaking, dragon boating, whitewater rafting, skiing, climbing, cycling, adventure courses, high speed slides and zip lining in the Boathouse District in downtown Oklahoma City and at Lake Overholser. As an official US Olympic & Paralympic Training Site, RIVERSPORT develops Olympic Hopefuls in both rowing and canoe/kayak and regularly hosts national and international competitions. The organization’s outreach programs ensure that people from all walks of life, especially those in underserved communities, have access to outdoor sports and recreation. To learn more about RIVERSPORT, visit riversportokc.org or call (405) 552-4040.

About ICF

As the global governing body for canoe and kayak sports, ICF oversees ten paddling disciplines and organises international competitions, including world championships and Olympic events. Its mission is to ensure fair and safe competition, promote the sport worldwide, and support grassroots programmes, coaching, and educational efforts. ICF’s commitment to inclusivity includes overseeing paracanoe competitions for athletes with physical disabilities.

About ACA

Founded in 1880, ACA is a respected nonprofit organisation dedicated to promoting and advancing paddle sports across the United States. They focus on safety, education, and advocacy, providing comprehensive educational programmes and advocating for paddlers’ rights. ACA creates a close-knit community through organised events and affiliated clubs.

 

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