by embedded journalists TeamPopp

2010 Junior Olympics

On Sunday we ended the 2010 Junior Olympics with the freestyle competition staged on the Nantahala Wave. Some of the slalomists and other kids had headed home early that morning for the long drives or flights home, but we still had a lively group of about 20 kids rocking out on the wave in playboats!

Experienced and beginner playboaters tried their hand at the tumultuous wave, fighting difficult eddy lines to put in as many tricks as possible in 60 seconds. Each kid’s best ride was used in the final scoring, and most kids seemed satisfied with the day’s work. Finally, an award was given for the person with the most overall points (over the four main Junior Olympic events) and it was a tie between Sage Donnelly and Chelsea Bornemann.

Sage showing the junior olympic contenders the fun of taking time out for some freestyle

Sage Donnelly dominated the cub-cadet division, even racking up points to beat many of the older competitors. At 9 years old, Sage was doing complex moves like loops, ripping up the hole in her tiny orange Shooting Star like a pro.  She is on the Jackson Kayak regional kayak team and travels around competing in events and training with her many friends around the country.  Sage has been kayaking on her own since she was 7, and has been on the water with her parents since the age of 3. Her dad, Matthew Donnelly, is her biggest fan and paddling partner, a perfect example of parenting, always by her side helping her and cheering her on.