KERNVILLE, Calif. (KGET) — The Tokyo Olympics were originally slated for last summer but the pandemic threw a wrench in those plans. Local Owners of Kern River Brewing Company are gearing up for the Olympics this year and shared their own Olympic memories.
Rebecca and Eric Giddens are well known around Kernville as the owners of the Kern River Brewing Company. Something most people may not know about them is that they both have competed in the Olympics.
“I’ve been involved one way or another with every Olympics since 1992,” said Kern River Brewing Compay Co-Owner, NBC Color Analyst, and former Olympian, Eric Giddens. “I was a forerunner in ’92, alternate for the Olympic games and then athlete in ’96, coach in 2000 and 2004, judge in 2008 announcer in 2012, 2016, and now 2021-five years later.”
But the Olympic experience doesn’t end with Eric.
“I did the 2000 and the 2004 Olympics, the 2000 was in Sydney Australia, and then 2004 in Athens, Greece,” said Eric’s Wife, Rebeca Giddens, who is also a Co-Owner of Kern River Brewing Company, Olympic Athlete, and Silver Medalist.
Both Rebecca and Eric competed in white water slalom, they trained together for years before Eric became one of Rebecca’s coaches for the US Women’s Olympic Team.
“I was always a little farther ahead in the sport than she was being older and a little more experienced. She took all of my knowledge and perfected it. I try to take credit for it but she’s the one that got the medal so…” said Eric.
The Giddens reminisced on their Olympic memories, saying their favorite part was getting to be around so many culturally diverse athletes that were all at the games for the same reason. The COVID-19 Pandemic caused the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be postponed to this summer.
“For us it was just a given, we were going to be at the Olympic trials, if we made that then we were going to be at the Olympics, and now it’s just like everyone in the last year and a half is dealing with change and the unknown,” Eric said.
The changes and the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic have also presented new obstacles for the athletes to overcome.
“I feel like it’s a huge challenge for the athletes this year,” said Rebecca. “They haven’t had as many competitions as they have before, so kind of keeping that racing head is key, they say you can train all you want and get physically fit and get technically amazing but then the rest of it is all upstairs and I feel like not having those weekly competitions or international races, world cup, world championships, I think it’s going to be a totally different mental game for those athletes.”
One thing the Giddens hope won’t change this year is the rallying support for the teams representing the red, white and blue. If you head out to the Kern River Brewing Company keep a lookout for a few Olympic details throughout the brewery.
Eric Giddens is the NBC Color Analyst for the Slalom events, he encourages his community to listen and watch out for him on their TV screens this summer during the Olympic games.