Tracy Click, an Army veteran and online student in the management and leadership graduate program in the School of Adult and Graduate Studies, plans to compete in the 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City, N.C.
The championship event begins Monday, September 2 and ends Sunday, September 8 with an award ceremony. Tracy, a resident of Mount Holly, N.C., will compete among 300 of the world’s top freestyle kayakers.
Tracy said, “I’ve competed in three other world freestyle events, one in New Zealand and two in Spain. My ultimate goal is to make the U.S. Slalom Team and compete in the Olympics.”
When asked about her motivation for kayaking competitively she noted, “as an athlete you have an opportunity to act as an ambassador of the United States in addition to being a kayaker. Doing something that promotes peace and connects me with people of other nations just by using the gifts that God gave me is so meaningful.”
Click served as one of four women in a U.S. Army airborne unit for three years until she was injured. Now she seeks to serve veterans with disabilities through sports competition. She said, “I really feel like what I’m doing now is symbolic on many levels. I’m able to represent veterans and show my fellow veterans with disabilities that they can aspire to do great things.”
Tracy explained further, “I don’t think many people understand the impact of war. It’s a really difficult thing. When you come out, it really takes some time to find yourself. It’s been good for me to be able to provide a bridge between veterans and non-profit organizations that focus on veteran issues. I believe that sporting events are a great way for veterans to transition back into civilian society.”