Richard Weiss

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Richard Weiss
Medal record
Men's canoe slalom
Representing  United States
World Championships
Silver medal – second place 1993 Mezzana K-1

Richard Alfred "Rich" Weiss (September 18, 1963 in Munich – June 25, 1997, White Salmon River) was a West German-born, American slalom kayaker who competed from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. He won a silver medal in the K-1 event at the 1993 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in Mezzana.

Weiss also competed in two Summer Olympics, earning his best finish of sixth in the K-1 event in Atlanta in 1996. His finish in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona was mired in controversy when the television replay showed a judge's error cost him a bronze medal.[1]

Weiss earned a B.S. in Geological Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, an M.S. in Hydrogeology from Penn State University, and a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences at the University of British Columbia. He founded and owned an environmental consulting company, Weisswater Associates.[1]

He drowned in a kayaking accident on the White Salmon River in Washington state in 1997. Preparing for a race with a friend, he unsuccessfully attempted to run Big Brother, a Class-V rapid with a 30-foot waterfall.[2] His wife, Rosi, gave birth soon afterwards to a boy whom she named "River".[3] The accidental death of a world-class paddler was the subject of much reflection and soul-searching in the whitewater community.[4] The town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado dedicated a park, with a statue, in his honor.[5]

Bronze Statue of Richard Weiss by Tyler Mark Richardella


  1. ^ a b John F. Russell, Steamboat Today, Weiss made waves, July 27, 2008. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  2. ^ American Whitewater Accident Database, Accident 441, retrieved June 23, 2015.
  3. ^ John Trujillo, The Risks We Take, July 7, 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  4. ^ Angus Phillips, The Washington Post, QUESTIONS REMAIN OVER DEATH OF EXPERT PADDLER, July 15, 1997. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  5. ^ Jon Libid, Steamboat Today, Forever immortalized, June 10, 2001. Retrieved June 23, 2015.