COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – A Columbus paddler was awarded the gold medal in freestyle kayaking at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, CO.
Hunter Katich participated in the national competition held every year in Vail. During the Freestyle Kayak competition, each kayaker has a timed run to throw his tricks in an attempt to impress the judges and the crowd for the highest combined score.
"I'm stoked to finally bring the gold home to Columbus, Georgia," says Hunter Katich, a previous Junior Freestyle USA National Champion. "I really just want to thank all my friends, family and sponsors for everything!"
Katich, the fourth of five competitors to drop into the International Bridge venue, earned the high score of the day in his first run, only to have it bested by the competitor immediately following him.
Having placed second and third in previous GoPro games, Katich was able to put up the highest score in his final run to secure the Gold medal in the 2018 Games.
"When we invested in our city's urban whitewater course 7 years ago, we knew it was only a matter of time until Columbus produced a world-class competition kayaker," said Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson. "Hunter is that. He makes us proud."
In addition to Katich taking the gold, another Columbus native, Tom Dolle was able to grab fifth place in the same division.
"For Columbus, Georgia to have two competitors stand on the podium at the GoPro Mountains Games highlights one of the reasons our whitewater course came to fruition," said President of Uptown Columbus Ross Horner.