Jim O’Brien was many things to many people. No matter what hat he wore in your life, he was always just a super guy. Many of us know Jim for all he did for the paddling community. Whether it be clearing local runs of hazards, teaching many of us to paddle or helping with safety at local events Jim always came through and gave back in big ways.
As America’s first Olympic medalist in whitewater slalom, Jamie McEwan’s bronze medal finish in C-1 in 1972 inspired a new generation of paddlers to strive for excellence in whitewater competition. As a veteran competitor, he has been at the forefront of recent efforts to encourage and support the participation of American youth in whitewater competition.