As part of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, the Ocoee River near Ducktown, Tennessee was host to the first whitewater Olympic events held on a natural river. Not that it was entirely natural by the time of the Olympics – a significant amount of engineering went into preparing it for the events. It is still a premiere whitewater rafting and kayaking destination. Since we were nearby in northern Georgia and I am interested in whitewater kayaking, John wanted to show me the Ocoee River and Whitewater Center.
We ate lunch next to a rapid, where we watched the carnage from commercial rafts navigating it. At any given time, there were at least three guides standing by with throw ropes to catch customers that popped out of their rafts. Even with the abundance of rescuers, the number of customers in the water overwhelmed them and one floated on by – thankfully he was able to swim himself to shore and no one was hurt.