Despite getting knocked out of contention early, Hurd said Wednesday that the experience was “amazing.”
Hurd and his slalom partner from Marietta, Jeff Larimer, finished 12th in their qualifying heat, in which the top 10 teams moved on to the semifinals. The heat consisted of two runs, with the fastest run of each team counting toward qualifying.
Hurd and Larimer finished their first run with a time of 112.91 seconds. Their time improved on the second run, but three 2-second penalties for touching three of the course’s gates, brought their total time to 109.78 and kept them in 12th place.
Had they avoided the three infractions, Hurd and Larimer could have finished as high as eighth, which would have been good enough to qualify them for the next round.
Hurd said he and Larimer didn’t even realize they had been penalized so often during the course of the race.
“We were hitting them so light, we didn’t even know we hit two of them on the first run, and we didn’t know we hit two of them on the second run,” Hurd said Wednesday from London. “We knew we took one touch, but it is what it is.
“If we had the opportunity to race it again, we would stretch the line just a millimeter or two to not hit the gates.”
Despite the disappointing result, Hurd had only good things to say regarding his time in London.
“My Olympic experience has been pretty amazing,” the 26-year-old said. “It’s really nice to be in the village and see all the athletes and share their stories. London did a great job in setting (the Olympics) up. Overall, it has been a surreal experience. It has been a long journey to get to where we are at.”
When asked to pick the favorite moments from his time in London, Hurd had a few that stood out in particular.
“One of the coolest moments was being able to sit in the start gate and see so many fans watching the race,” he said. “There were probably around 15,000 people watching. We don’t get that very often. Also, the opening ceremony was one of those moments that I said, ‘This is it, we are really here.’ My favorite memory, however, is just being able to race and compete with the other athletes. It was a good feeling.”
Watching among the sea of fans was Hurd’s father, Mike. Mike Hurd, who narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, watched his son compete outside of the United States for the first time.
Eric Hurd said it’s because of his father that he fell in love with the sport.
“I found some old movies of my dad kayaking around the Atlanta area and asked if I could try it,” he said. “It’s been history since then.”
If they had their way, Hurd and Larimer would begin preparations for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. However, a lack of funding could present a roadblock for those plans.
“It’s a very challenging sport to meet your needs in.” Hurd said in regard to raising funds. “When you dedicate four years, you need some funding to achieve that. If we get our ducks in a row and have someone help with the funding, we’ll definitely go for Rio.”