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