CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - The pride of Ducktown, Tennessee and a great friend of WRCB has been named Chief Executive Officer of USA Canoe/Kayak. The Board of Directors appointed Joe Jacobi to lead the National and Olympic governing body for competitive paddlesports in the United States. Jacobi had been serving as the organization's Interim Chief Executive Officer since October 2009.

The Board voted unanimously after a four-month search process.

Jacobi has appeared regularly on WRCB Channel 3 in Chattanooga as an Olympics Correspondent in the popular series, Olympic Zone, that profiled local stories with a connection to the Olympic Games.

Joe Jacobi is a two-time Olympian in the sport of canoe/kayak who teamed with Scott Strausbaugh to win America's first-ever Olympic Gold Medal in Whitewater Canoe Slalom at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Since retiring from elite level competition after the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Jacobi has continued in the sport in a variety of capacities that include network broadcasting, professional speaking, coaching and serving on the USA Canoe/Kayak Board of Directors.

"I am honored and humbled to be chosen to lead this organization that I so passionately care about and is poised for amazing things," said Jacobi. "From every corner of the sport, from the Board room to the Boathouse, I have never seen more desire to see USA Canoe/Kayak succeed than right now. This is our time."

"The Board is confident that Joe has the skill set, knowledge, commitment and passion to successfully lead USA Canoe/Kayak, working with William Irving, Gerald Babao, Stacey Hepp and the entire coaching staff, through the challenges that lie ahead," said Board Chairman David Backer, an attorney in Portland, Maine.  "We consider ourselves fortunate to have had Joe available to work with us for the last six months on an interim basis and we are thrilled that Joe is willing to continue on as CEO on a long-term basis." 

Much of Jacobi's work will take place at USA Canoe/Kayak's offices, both in Charlotte, NC and Oklahoma City, OK as well spending time in person with the sport's stakeholders and partners across the United States and around the world.

Jacobi and his family live near the Ocoee River, host of the 1996 Olympic Whitewater Slalom events.

USA Canoe/Kayak is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Canoe Federation. It governs the Olympic disciplines of Flatwater Sprint and Whitewater Slalom and sanctions Freestyle, Marathon, Outrigger, Wildwater, Kayak Polo, Dragon Boat and Canoe Sailing in the United States.