About Pam Boteler

Photo by CameronDavidson.com

Boteler, of the Washington Canoe Club in Washington, DC, is a world-class athlete and advocate who has been making waves in her sport since 2000. She made USA Canoe/Kayak history at the 2000 National Championships by becoming the first woman to compete in sprint canoe – against the men, and won gold and bronze medals. She continued to race against the men in 2001, winning gold in the Men’s C4 (4 person canoe). Finally, in 2002, influenced by her success on the water and lobbying off the water, USA Canoe/Kayak changed its by-laws to allow women to compete at the National Championships in events of their own – in all age and boat categories. Finally, U.S. women sprint canoeists had a league of their own.

Listen to her 2013 radio interview on Women Warriors Blog Radio (starts at 5:45).   And her August 2014 interview with “Who Are You ?  The Life Lessons in Sports” .

 Pam was inspired into sprint canoe in 1999 by Canadian pioneer and legend Sheila Kuyper. That image of a powerful and graceful woman in a “man’s canoe” has been a driver and primary catalyst for her working tirelessly – on and off the water – to pave the way for women of all ages to follow and pursue their dream of training and competing within their own club, their own country, in their own events, and for their country in international competition, and ultimately the Olympic Games. And she has done this while working a full-time job for the U.S. Federal Government.

As an athlete and President of WomenCAN International, Pam works tirelessly as a global voice for equality in Olympic Canoeing. She serves as a role-modelPamC1gCameronD for women to pursue their Olympic dream and desire to compete nationally and internationally, regardless of age, gender, ability, or socio-economic background. She also inspires us to do the very things which we think we cannot do – and to give a hand back to others to help them pursue their dreams.


“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a
small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that
human history is shaped. 
Each time a man stands up for an ideal,
or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice,
he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers
of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down
the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

~ Robert F. Kennedy, University of Capetown, Capetown, South Africa, June 6, 1966

Career Highlights Canoe Sprint 2000-2010:

  • First woman in the U.S. to compete at the U.S. National Championships in sprint canoe (2000), competing against the men. Gold and Bronze medals
  • First woman to compete at the U.S. National Marathon Canoe/Kayak Trials (30K) in sprint canoe, competing against the men (2002 & 2003) and first woman (and only known woman) in the world to compete in an ICF sanctioned marathon event in C1. Women are still prohibited from competing at the Canoe Marathon World Championships.
  • 11 international medals
  • Participated in 3 World Championships (2003, 2009, 2010) and 5 Pan American Championships (2001, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2010)
  • 32 U.S. National Championships medals – undefeated in the women’s C1 1000m event.   Undefeated in women’s C1 500 & 200m events 2000-2008.

Current Paddling:  Washington Canoe Club (Washington DC) – Hawaiian Outrigger Canoeing, marathon canoe and surfski.

2000 USA C/K Sprint National Championships.

With Luciana Costa & Camila Lima (Brazil), Curitiba, 2002 Pan American Championships.


Itacare, Bahia, Brazil.

1st ever Women’s Canoe Dev. Camp, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia – pre-2009 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships.

2003 USA C/K Sprint National Championships.

2008 Seattle CanoeKayak Club