Queensland Academy of Sport Appoints Olympic Gold Medalist David Smith as Sprint Canoe Kayak Head Coach

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.

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