USA Canoe/Kayak is proud to announce the hire of Michele Eray as the new High Performance Director (HPD) for Canoe Sprint. Since 2013, Eray has served as the Sprint High Performance Manager for USA Canoe/Kayak, though beginning in 2015, she will assume her new role. As the Canoe Sprint HPD, she will be tasked with leading the National Governing Body's Sprint program, as well as identifying and fostering the development of 2020 and 2024 podium potential athletes.
"I am very excited about this challenging opportunity," said Eray. "There are many pieces to the high performance puzzle and I look forward to working with the athletes, coaches, staff, officials, and volunteers that make up this organization. I am optimistic that this new direction we are taking will put us back on the Canoe Sprint map."
Eray's responsibilities will include working with individual athletes during group training sessions to foster the work ethic and attention to detail required to advance to a world-class level. Michele will also assist with a comprehensive athlete identification process and write training programs with support of sport scientists in an effort to progress canoe/kayak athletes beyond traditional training programs.
"Recently, we took a hard look at our current business needs and the future needs of our organization," said USACK Interim CEO and Board President, Bob Lally. "It was a very thoughtful process and we ultimately decided not to go forward with the hiring of a new CEO. With that decision and the constrained fiscal conditions, we made high performance our number one priority. The bottom line is that we have to seize this opportunity to reposition USA Canoe/Kayak to address our competitiveness and, collectively, our paddle sport future. Hiring Michele Eray as our Sprint High Performance Director moves USA Canoe/Kayak in the direction required. We are excited to have Michele stay with us and take on her new roles and responsibilities. Please welcome Michele into her new role and give her your full support."
In addition, Eray will oversee the "Sprint Talent Transfer and ID Program" which is designed to help identify new talent from a dedicated talent ID program, as well as a Talent Transfer-style program utilizing existing athletic individuals and transferring their skills to canoe/kayak.
"Michele brings to USA Canoe/Kayak a wealth of knowledge through her varied experiences as a talented elite level paddler and accomplished student of the sport," says Mike Knopp, Executive Director at the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation. "Her enthusiasm and innovative thinking will be a tremendous asset as we propel the sport forward and identify the next generation of athletes who will lead Team USA back to the podium."
Michele is no stranger to competitive racing as she represented South Africa in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and is the reigning ICF Surfski World Champion.
"I am excited to continue working with Michele as we work to strengthen our sprint program; she is extremely qualified and dedicated," says Gerald Babao, Director of Operations at USA Canoe/Kayak.
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