Originally published to Idaho Press on March 20th, 2022.
HORSESHOE BEND — Fifteen-year-old Horseshoe Bend resident Merle Long is going places — fast. The Kayak Slalom star has been competing for years and has spent the last few months training at the Olympic Training Center in Penrith, Australia.
And even though he has his sights set on the Olympics and World Championships, Merle still attends school and completes his homework thanks to Idaho Virtual Academy.
“The teaching and admin staff has been nothing but supportive and that support has allowed me to pursue my goals completely,” Merle shared.
Merle, whose family owns and operates a rafting company on the Payette River, started kayaking when he was about 6 years old. His dad, Tern Long, said that Merle “grew up on the water” and his son’s favorite place to kayak is on the North Fork of the Payette.
Long said Merle loves to train in Australia, and the opportunity for water time, the great weather and incredible people make it one of their family’s favorite places in the world.
To learn more about Idaho Virtual Academy, visit https://idva.k12.com/