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DeKalb kayaker squeaks into Olympic finals

12:33 AM, Aug 11, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA, Ga. -- As an elementary school student, Tim Hornsby was an agreeable tow-headed kid who liked to play soccer. 

But as he grew up, his soccer coach at Lakeside High school in DeKalb County learned he'd taken up another sport.

"Unfortunately, one day after making the varsity team, he came to me one day and said 'Coach, I've got a chance to go to the junior world championships in kayaking,'" recalled coach Rick Barbe.

Tim Hornsby had given up soccer for good. After honing his skills at the Lanier Canoe Kayak club, he made the US Olympic team as a 26-year old sprint kayaker.

When he got to London, Hornsby's Twitter feed lit up with images from the opening ceremonies. Then he settled in, as he waited two full weeks before finally getting to compete.

 

When he lined up with seven other kayakers Friday, Hornsby accidentally entered the wrong lane. "Lane eight. Lane eight. Would you please move over to your lane?" On NBC's feed of the event, a public address announcer was heard admonishing Hornsby to switch lanes at the start of the 200 meter sprint.

Hornsby's last-minute lane change may have cost him some of his focus; he finished seventh.

Yet Coach Barbe remembers a young athlete with focus. "He set goals for himself that were higher than anybody else," Barbe said. "While he was an excellent team player, I think it was his own really championship attitude that separated him from the rest of his teammates."

Despite the 7th place finish, NBC reports he'll race in this weekend's finals. Hornsby's high school soccer coach will follow every stroke.

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