TROUT LAKE, Wash. — Two-time Olympic kayaker Richard Weiss has drowned in an accident on the White Salmon River.
Weiss, who finished sixth in the slalom in the 1996 Atlanta Games and 16th at Barcelona in 1992, failed to surface Wednesday after he went over a 15-foot waterfall in the river, just south of the town of Trout Lake, Klickitat County Undersheriff Bill Enderby said.
Originally from Steamboat Springs, Colo., Weiss moved to Hood River, Ore., near Trout Lake, after the 1996 Olympics.
Weiss, 33, and his wife, Rosi, were expecting their first child this fall. Weiss hadn't officially retired but did not try out for this year's team, said Lisa Fish, spokeswoman for the U.S. Canoe and Kayak team.
"Many of our athletes are admired for their skill and ability," said Terry Kent, the kayak team's executive director. "Richie had all of that, but above all he was known for his caring and calm compassion, friendship and class."
Bill Endicott, coach of the 1992 Olympic kayak slalom team and chairman of the National Whitewater Slalom Committee, said he was shocked by Weiss' death.
"Husband, expectant father, PhD, world silver medalist, two-time Olympian, he was, in short, the best we had to give," Endicott said. "I will never get over his loss, but I hope in time I can learn to live with it."
The river is popular with kayakers and was running high because of the spring runoff.