U.S. slalom clinches first Olympic spot

September, 9, 2011
9/09/11
2:47
PM ET
Sliding into the final qualifying slot, Caroline Queen earned the United States a spot in the London Olympics in the women's kayak on Friday at the 2011 ICF Slalom World Championships.

It was the first Olympic spot the United States has clinched in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Queen placed 37th after two opening heats with the top 15 countries in qualified spots, but many nations placed multiple athletes high in the rankings. Her time was not fast enough to advance to the semifinals, though.

"Under tough circumstances, we're thrilled Caroline gave the U.S. its first Olympic position," USA Canoe/Kayak CEO Joe Jacobi said in a statement. "Over the next 11 months, there is no doubt our women are going to compete extremely hard to for the opportunity to represent the U.S. in London."

Queen said she was nervous earlier in the week, but remained focused on her normal training routine.

"Now that I have secured the spot, all of those nerves can be gone for good!" Queen said. "However, I guess one could say a whole new set of nerves will come my way next year. Despite not making the semis, it's a definite relief to have the spot qualified."

A student at Davidson College, Queen said she will complete the fall semester but take the spring semester off to dedicate herself to training.

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