The Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS), Paddle Australia and Paddle Queensland are pleased to announce the appointment of David Smith, 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist, as the new QAS Head Coach for Sprint Canoe Kayak. Smith brings a wealth of experience to his role, having previously served as the South Australian Institute of Sport (SASI) Sprint Canoe Head Coach and the Assistant National Men’s Coach 2017-21.
With his own Olympic experience and technical expertise, David played a pivotal role in contributing to the success of the Gold Medal-winning crew, Tom Green and Jean Van der Westhuyzen in the K2 1000m at the Tokyo Olympics.
David Smith continued to be an asset to the sport after Tokyo as Head Coach of the South Australian Institute of Sport Sprint Program, where he has worked tirelessly to further develop and refine the pathway of Australia’s paddlers in South Australia. Smith’s commitment to nurturing top-tier talent and his contributions to the sport have had a significant impact both nationally and internationally, recently in 2023 leading the Australian U23/Junior Sprint Team at World Championships in Auronzo Italy.
Kenny Wallace, the National Performance Pathways Lead, expressed his enthusiasm for David Smith’s appointment, stating, “His impressive track record in coaching and his Olympic experience will undoubtedly inspire and mentor the next generation of Australian Sprint Canoe Kayak champions. I have no doubt he will continue to make a positive impact at the Queensland Academy of Sport.”
Shaun Stephens, Executive Director, High Performance Programs at the Queensland Academy of Sport, also shared his thoughts on David Smith’s appointment, saying, “David Smith’s appointment as the QAS Head Sprint Canoe Kayak Head Coach aligns with the QAS’s strategic plan of ‘inspiring extraordinary sporting success. We are confident that David’s leadership and continued development as a coach will enable an enriching and holistic high-performance journey with athletes and continue to identify and develop future champions in canoe kayak within Queensland.”
David Smith stated, “I am honoured to join the Queensland Academy of Sport as the Sprint Canoe Kayak Head Coach in the lead-up and excitement surrounding Brisbane 2032. I am excited to be part of a program that has a rich successful history and strong tradition of excellence and look forward to working with our talented athletes to help them achieve their full potential. I must also express my heartfelt gratitude to the South Australian Institute of Sport (SASI) for their invaluable support over the past 18 months, which has been instrumental in my continuous growth as both a coach and a mentor. I have loved working with the athletes, staff and coaches here at SASI and hope to continue to support them at a system level as part of the national network.”
David is due to start his new role with the QAS in mid-December 2023.