Salisbury Man Follows in Father's Footsteps to Compete in Olympics

Devin McEwan, of Salisbury, will be making his Olympic debut in Rio at the age of 31, and he'll be carrying on the legacy of his father when he does. 

McEwan, a graduate of the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, will compete in canoe slalom, just like his father, Jamie McEwan, did. 

Jamie McEwan was a 19-year-old Yale student when he competed in the 1972 Olympics and won a bronze medal, becoming the first American medalist in the sport. 

Twenty years later, Jamie McEwan finished fourth in Barcelona and the father and son competed together for 12 years, making the 2001 national team. 

"It's definitely cool to follow in his footsteps, but I think, not specifically as an Olympian, but as a slalom athlete," Devin said. 

Jamie McEwan passed away in 2014 at the age of 61 and Devin said he’d give anything to say anything to his dad as he gets ready for the experience of a lifetime. Overall, he thinks his father would be “psyched” about where Devin is right now. 

With a few weeks to go, the idea of competing in Rio is still bizarre for the Connecticut man. 

“I feel like it will probably hit me when I'm in the start gate at the Olympics. But until then, it's just gonna seem like a dream," Devin said. 

And when the pre-race anxiety hits, Devin will be thinking about his dad. 

"He had this great Zen approach to the sport, so especially if I have pre-race jitters, which is pretty common for me, I find it very calming to think about him," he said. 

Devin might not seem like someone who gets jitters too often. He goes with the flow, walks around barefoot, marches to the beat of his own drum and says his hobbies include hanging out and looking cool. 

"I'm a pretty big space cadet, so I kinda think about whatever. Oftentimes, I'll have songs going through my head or I'll be thinking about what I'm going to eat for lunch," he said. 

Like Devin, his canoe will be one-of-a kind.

His mom, noted children's author and cartoonist Sandra Boynton, designed the artwork for the canoe he'll use in Rio and it has the word "zoom" written on it. 

Thinking about what comes next, Devin hopes to medal, just like his dad. 

"He kept his bronze medal inside his World Cup in his closet,” Devin said. “I keep all my medals on a peg in my house. That's my super high-tech display system, so it would probably end up there.” 

Then. he thought again. 

“Maybe I would display it more prominently, but that's probably what I would do," he said. 

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