Mostly known for competing in the gruelling C-2 1000-metre, Mike Scarola and his partner Richard Dalton were ranked the best in Canada. In the words of a former teammate, “Mike was the hardest working paddler in Canada”.
Mike learned to paddle on Lake Banook in Dartmouth. With three canoe clubs available on that world-class water, much was available to a nine-year-old hankering to get into a boat. He certainly did well. He had solid coaching, and role models like eventual Olympic medallist Steve Giles of Lake Echo with whom he trained often, and Larry Cain, a Canadian paddling gold medalist who, when in Dartmouth for Nationals, was awed by young Mike.
Mike made the Nova Scotia Canada Games team at 17 and won gold in the solo 6,000 metres. He competed at Junior Worlds at 18. Mike says focus, determination, a willingness to outwork his competitors, and want it more, was the way he operated – and it did pay off. By 2000, at age 24, he was medalling regularly on the world stage. Between 2000 and 2004, he won four golds, six silvers, and two bronze medals at World Cups – all at either C2 500 or 1,000 metres. Between 1997 and 2003, he was a solid competitor at World Sprint Championships.
In 2000, on his home course, he won silver in C2 40km at the World Marathon Championships. He was second in C2 1,000 at the World University Games in 2002, the same year he earned third at the World Sprint Championships in C2 1,000. The capper was making the Canadian Olympic team in 2004 where he and long-time C2 partner Richard Dalton of Dartmouth finished sixth in the C2 1,000-metre race.
Mike retired six months after Athens, in January 2005. Almost 30 at the time, he had been part of RBC’s Esteem Team (as an Olympic athlete speaking to youngsters and corporate groups to inspire them to set goals and be successful), was president of the Atlantic chapter of Olympians Canada, and a member of Canoe Kayak Canada’s High-Performance Committee.
Mike competed in five Canoe Sprint World Championships winning bronze in 2002. He represented Canada at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece and is the winner of a staggering 19 National Senior Championships.
• 19-time Canadian National Senior Champion
• 6th place, Olympic Games, Athens 2004
• Gold and Silver medals, 1993 Canada Games
• Four Gold medals, World Cup, 2001
• Bronze medal, C2 Sprint World Championships, 2002
• Six Silver medals, World Cup, 2000-2004
• Silver medal, World University Championships, 2002
• Silver medal C2 Marathon World Championships, 2000