Adam van Koeverden

Adam van Koeverden, kayaker (born 29 January 1982 in Toronto, ON). Adam van Koeverden, Canada’s most successful paddler, has won four Olympic medals at three Games. At the 2004 Olympic Summer Games in Athens, he won a bronze medal in the men's K-1 1000 m event, followed a day later by victory in the K-1 500 m. He was Canada's first double-medalist in the Summer Olympics since Donovan Bailey and Clara Hughes at Atlanta in 1996, and received the Lou Marsh Trophy in 2004 in recognition of his accomplishment. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Van Koeverden won silver in the K-1 1500 m event and at the 2012 Olympics in London, he took silver in the men's K-1 1000 m. Van Koeverden is an athlete ambassador for Right To Play, and a graduate of McMaster University in Kinesiology (2007), where he was elected class valedictorian. In January 2019, he became the Liberal candidate for the federal riding of Milton in southern Ontario. He defeated Conservative incumbent Lisa Raitt in the October 2019 federal election.

van Koeverden, Adam
Adam van Koeverden at the 2004 Olympic at Athens. Van Koeverden paddled to victory in the Men's K1 500 m kayaking event, adding a gold medal to the bronze he won days earlier in the 1000 m to become Canada's first double medallist in the summer Olympics since Donovan Bailey and Clara Hughes at Atlanta in 1996 (photo by David Guttenfelder, courtesy CP Archives).

Early Career

Adam van Koeverden was born in Toronto to Joe van Koeverden and Beata Bokrossy. When he was 13 years old, his mother signed him up at the Burloak Canoe Club in Oakville, Ontario, after seeing an advertisement headed, “Future Champions Wanted.” In 1999, he won bronze in K-1 1000 m at the 1999 Junior World Championships.

Olympic Competition

Leading up to the trials for the Olympic Games in early 2004, van Koeverden had had considerable success. He excelled at both university and World Cup events, and in 2003, won his first senior world championship medal, a silver, at Gainesville, Georgia, in the men's K-1 1000 m event. His success in the 2004 Olympic trials assured him a spot on the Canadian team destined for Athens. Van Koeverden began his Olympic competition with a bronze medal in the men's K-1 1000 m event. His win a day later in the K-1 500 m, which he dubbed "the perfect race," was the first time he had ever won the event at the international level. It was Canada’s first gold medal in canoe/kayak in 20 years.

Adam van Koeverden 2004
Canada's Adam van Koeverden of Burlington, Ontario paddles during the K1 final during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Schinias, Greece, on Friday, 27 August 2004. Van Koeverden came in third for a bronze medal.
Adam van Koeverden 2004
Canada's Adam van Koeverden of Toronto poses with his gold and bronze medals after being named the flag bearer for the closing ceremonies at the Athens Olympics Sunday, 29 August 2004.

Van Koeverden's performance was rewarded by the Canadian Olympic Committee, who chose him to carry the Canadian flag at the closing ceremonies. He was Canada's first double-medalist in the summer Olympics since Donovan Bailey and Clara Hughes at Atlanta in 1996.

Van Koeverden qualified for the 2008 Olympics at Beijing, and carried the flag at the opening ceremonies. Though disappointed to finish eighth in his signature competition, the K-1 1000 m, he later won silver in the K-1 500 m event when a photo finish revealed that he had ousted the third-place boat by a mere 4/100ths of a second.

At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, van Koeverden took the silver medal in the men's K-1 1000 m. Despite hoping for a gold, van Koeverden declared after the race that he "can find the silver lining in silver." In 2016, he qualified for the Rio Olympics, his fourth Summer Games.

Adam van Koeverden 2004
Canada's Adam van Koeverden celebrates his gold medal win during the C1 500m final of the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games Saturday, 28 August 2004.

Other Competitions

In addition to his four Olympic medals, Adam van Koeverden has amassed two world championship titles and a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan American Games, as well as numerous world cup titles and Canadian championship titles.

International Canoe Federation (ICF) World Championships


Silver

K-1 1000 m

2003

Bronze

K-1 500 m

2005

Silver

K-1 1000 m

2005

Gold

K-1 500 m

2007

Silver

K-1 1000 m

2007

Bronze

K-1 1000 m

2009

Bronze

K-1 500 m

2010

Gold

K-1 1000 m

2011

Political Career

In January 2019, Adam van Koeverden became the Liberal candidate for the federal riding of Milton in southern Ontario. During the federal election of 21 October 2019, he defeated incumbent Lisa Raitt, the deputy leader of the Conservative Party who had represented Milton since the riding was first contested in 2015 (it was previously part of the electoral district of Halton, which Raitt represented between 2008 and 2015).

Adam van Koeverden

Canadian Olympic medalist Adam van Koeverden speaking to the audience during an election rally of the Liberal Party of Canada on 4 October 2015 in Brampton, Canada. Van Koeverden became the Liberal candidate for the federal riding of Milton in January 2019.