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US Canoe/Kayak Leaving Charlotte For OKC

http://66.225.205.104/LM20111214.mp3

The group that manages the U.S. Olympic canoe and kayak teams is moving its headquarters from Charlotte to Oklahoma City. There's a kayaking rule. When you're paddling a river, you have to align your boat with the most momentum. And that's what USA Canoe/Kayak (USACK) director Joe Jacobi says the group's doing by moving to Oklahoma City. The organization has a modest headquarters in Charlotte: one staff person and a whitewater slalom coach. They'll stay put here. Jacobi works out of Oklahoma City. He hopes that city will give the group a better chance to build the sport. Oklahoma City has a $100 million publicly-funded boating district, complete with a futuristic boathouse and will soon include a whitewater complex. Jacobi says the city's boating foundation has been quick to help USACK market kayaking and canoeing. It just launched a campaign this week. "I was able to tap into a 35-member workforce that works for the Oklahoma City Boathouse foundation to really get that program off the ground and running in the right direction, give our clubs, our organizational partners, real tools they can use to recruit people into the sport." The U.S. National Whitewater Center just west of Charlotte will still host the Olympic trials in April, and the center will remain a U.S. Olympic training site. Ten athletes currently train there. The center's director Jeff Wise says the move won't change much at the Whitewater Center. "There's really no connection to us financially, physically, or fiscally, for that matter. So really the impact is basically nothing," said Wise. In 2003, the promise of a whitewater center lured USACK to Charlotte from Lake Placid, New York.