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Friday, April 28, 2000
PROFILE: Caroline Brunet
Brunet paddling toward Sydney

MONTREAL (CP) -- There was only time for a brief stop at home to shore up a sponsorship deal before Caroline Brunet had to get back in the long, laborious channel that leads to the Olympics.

The world champion kayaker, one of Canada's top gold-medal hopes for the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia, removed an obstacle yesterday in announcing a sponsorship deal with Home Depot.

That will provide the funds to continue a training program the 31-year-old paddler described as "hell" heading into her fourth Olympic Games in September.

"The goal is to arrive there ready -- and to have good races," said Brunet, who had seen one of her key sponsors, the Naya spring water company, file for protection from creditors in December.

The Lac-Beauport, Que., native rose to the top of her sport through a maniacal dedication to training that gets more expensive in an Olympic year.

After spending the winter working out in Florida, followed by a stop in Atlanta last weekend to secure her qualification for the Sydney Games, Brunet is back on the road to Europe tomorrow to hook up with her Danish coach, Christian Frederiksen.

She has World Cup races planned for Hazewinkel, Belgium and Szeged, Hungary in May as well as in Duisburg, Germany in June, between more training sessions, of course.

She expects to arrive in Sydney on Aug. 1 -- six weeks in advance of the Games -- to complete the preparations and to adjust to the Australian time zone.

"It's hell this year," she said. "The intensity level of training rises.

"We train three times per day. It's more difficult, mentally and physically."

The work has paid off, beginning with her silver medal at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

Since then, Brunet has won eight gold and two silver medals at three world championships, capped by her dominant performance at last year's worlds in Milan, Italy, where she won three gold and a silver medal.
Caroline Brunet in the news
Brunet shows good form
Brunet powers into a pair of finals
Brunet tabbed as golden girl of Canada's team
Brunet in pictures
The flag bearer
On the podium
Gold in '97
Sponsorship deal
Waving the flag
A flag & a team
In profile