Olympic kayaker Alyce Wood has announced she will retire from elite paddling following the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Growing up on the Sunshine Coast, Alyce aspired to be an ironwomen, and when she was 15 turned to kayaking to improve her surf ski paddling, and fell in love with the sport.

A multiple Australian surf lifesaving medalist, Alyce continues to compete on the sand and in the surf, but it’s on the flatwater where the world champion paddler has made her mark.

Her first taste of international success came in 2014, where Alyce won bronze in the K1 500 at the U23 World Championships. In 2015, Alyce and paddling partner Aly Bull teamed up to win the K2 500 at the U23 World Championships.

12 months later, Alyce made her Olympic debut in Rio, where she and Bull made the A Final of the K2 500, finishing eighth overall.

Alyce won her first Senior World Championships title in 2017 in the K1 1000. In the years following, Alyce won a host of World Cup medals, including gold in the K1 5000 in Duisburg in 2019, K4 500 silver in Szeged in 2018, K1 5000 bronze in Duisburg in 2018.

Alyce was selected for a second Olympic Games in Tokyo, where she raced in the K1 500 and K2 500 alongside Bull again.

But perhaps her proudest achievement to date is becoming a mum to Florence in June 2022. Alyce took a year out of competition, but with an eye to competing at the Paris Olympics, she remained extremely active during her pregnancy. 

Her return to paddling has been successful, finishing fifth in the K1 500 at the 2023 World Championships, earning an Olympic quota for Australia. She also won gold in the K1 1000 at the recent 2024 ICF World Cup in Szeged.

Alyce is now primed for her third Olympic Games, where she will race in the K1 500. Along with team mate Aly Bull, and her former coach (and mother in law) Anna Wood, Alyce will become one of only three female kayakers to represent Australia at three Olympic Games.

Upon reflection on her career, Alyce couldn’t be prouder of what she has achieved to date, but is even more excited to see what she can produce in Paris.

“As a young girl, going to one Olympics felt like a pipe dream, and going to three felt like an impossible feat. So, to be now preparing for my third Olympics still feels incredibly surreal. As does the fact I got experience two of them with my husband (Jordan Wood) and now my third and final one with my daughter there cheering me on, ready and waiting for me after my final race.

“When I gave birth to Florence my motivations and perspective changed. No longer was I paddling because I was good at it, I was paddling because of the joy it brought me. Sure, there’s been tough days, and I’m so grateful to my team for getting me through those days, but there’s been an overwhelming number of amazing days that I’m so grateful I’ve been able to experience with Florence by my side. And that’s why Paris feels like the perfect moment for me to call time on my career. With my family in the stands and Florence on the bank ready to give me a big hug.

“It’s been such a privilege racing for Australia for so many years, but the time is right for me to retire and hand the baton over to the next generation. It’s such an exciting time for sport in Australia as we head towards Brisbane 2032, and I can’t wait to cheer our Paddle team on over the next 8 years and beyond,” she said.

Paddle Australia National Performance Director Kim Crane: “Alyce is the epitome of the elite athlete descriptor world’s best paddler and people

“Paddle Australia and our wider paddling community have thoroughly enjoyed being able to support Alyce throughout her phenomenal career and we celebrate her remarkable individual achievements and growth. 

“Not only has she been one of the most talented and committed athletes in our team over a long career, she’s been a truly impactful leader both on and off the water. I am as excited about supporting Alyce’s after sport career, as I believe she is a future leader in our system. 

“For now though it’s our privilege to watch her finish it off in Paris as she delivers this one last performance for Australia, fueled by years of hard work, and pure heart and soul. We’re so immensely proud of Alyce Wood,” she said.