Maria Halavrezos has very good odds of finding her way onto the podium this weekend on Lake Banook.
But the Dartmouth native won’t be satisfied unless a handful of other countries are right there with her, pushing her to the finish at the world sprint canoe-kayak championships.
Halavrezos is racing in the exhibition discipline of women’s canoe, which is dominated by only a few nations and is working to one day be accepted as an Olympic event.
“It’s really important to me that it looks like a race,” said Halavrezos, who partners with Jenna Marks, also of Dartmouth, in the C-2 200- and 500-metre boats.
“It’s no good for the sport if there are big discrepancies where people are finishing. It needs to be competitive and it needs to be exciting for people to watch.”
Halavrezos has only raced against the U.S., Brazil and Ecuador and isn’t sure what to expect from Europe. If those crews surprise her, she hopes it will help her sport grow.
“If we show we can go fast, paddle well and show that it’s exciting to watch, then countries might sit up and see there’s something to develop here,” she said.