Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, August 1, 2000

Hawaii's Olympians  The Road to Sydney

By Rick Stewart, ALLSPORT
After two Olympiads competing in two-man races, Peter
Newton, 30, is going to Sydney on the four-man boat.

Kayaker hopes
third Summer
Games a charm

Peter Newton, who grew up
in Honolulu, will compete in
Sydney as part of the four-man
1,000-meter kayak crew

By Pat Bigold

Kayaker Peter Newton has done something few can even dream of accomplishing: He has qualified for three consecutive Olympics.

"I'm pretty fortunate," said the 30-year-old former resident of Honolulu, who is the top-ranked male paddler in America.

"The sport has gotten a little more difficult since I first qualified in 1992. It seems like people are going faster now."

But so is Newton. In 1999 he was a member of the gold medal K-4 1,000-meter team at the Pan Am Games.

At the U.S. team trials, he stole the show, winning the K-1 500, the K-2 500 and the K-4 1,000.

Last month, he was on fire again.

Newton and K-2 partner, Angel Perez, were named to the U.S. Olympic Committee's Team of the Month for June.

Not only did they take second in the 500-meter race and first in the 1,000 at the U.S. Olympic trials, they also won the K-2 200 race and were part of the K-4 200 winning crew at the Duisburg (Germany) International World Cup Regatta.

Newton and Perez now rank No. 1 in the World Cup standings. He is going to Sydney as a member of the K-4 boat this time.

Perez, a Cuban refugee, got to the semifinals for Cuba in 1992.

Newton has never medaled but he said experience will be his crew's greatest ally in Sydney.

He competed in the K-2 the past two Olympics. He came in eighth in the 500 in Barcelona, and was eliminated in the 1,000 semifinals in 1996 in Atlanta.

"I look back at those years and hopefully I'll work out what will work best for me this year," said the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Newton.

The fact that Newton is an Olympic three-peater is somewhat of a story in itself.

His passions were soccer and surfing while he attended Our Redeemer. Paddling was not in the picture.

He played soccer for Pac-Five and caught waves on his own at Sandy's and Makapuu.

"I didn't even know anything about it ( canoeing and kayaking) because I was too busy being a kid," he recalled. "And back in the 1980s, it wasn't as big a sport as it is now."

But he remembers the first time his curiosity about Olympic kayaking was stimulated.

"I was watching the 1984 Olympics on TV and I remember there was a little fog on the water as the boats lined up," he said. "I thought, wow, that's kind of a weird sport. I was 14 and really into sports then."

It wasn't until he was out of high school and his brother bought a surfski that his transition to destiny began.

"I started using the surfski and did some races and then got into outriggers," said Newton, who eventually competed in the 40.8-mile Molokai Hoe Molokai-to-Oahu race.

"Then it was on to faster boats," said Newton, who found his way into kayaks in 1990.

"My coach said, 'OK, you've got two years until the next Olympics,' and I took him seriously," said Newton.

Ironically, he began paddling in the K-4 before racing in the 1991 world championships in the K-2.

"I've been with the K-4 off and on ever since," said Newton, a professional graphics designer who now lives in Issaquah, Wash., with his bride of eight months, Jennifer.

Expecting this to be his final Olympics, Newton said he's found a happy niche in the boat which is fueled by the sweat of four strong men.

"I sit in the back, so there's not much more to think of than paddling really hard," he said.

Olympic Profile


Peter Newton

Bullet Age: 30
Bullet Hometown: Honolulu
Bullet Sport: Kayaking (K-4)
Bullet Olympics: Third
Bullet Olympic dream quote: "I was watching the 1984 Olympics on TV and I remember there was a little fog on the water as the boats lined up."

Sydney 2000 Olympics

E-mail to Sports Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin