HELL-BENT: Boteler is the top American woman in sprint canoeing, a high intensity flatwater sport that's a growing craze among women at boating clubs across the United States. Competitors kneel in sleek carbon-fiber boats and paddle furiously on one side for up to 1,000 meters.
Power Player: Boteler, at the Washington Canoe Club, in Washington, D.C., February 2004
SEEN NEXT: June 21 to 26, in Moscow, where she'll battle the top women in the world.
EQUAL STROKES: Canoeing is the only Olympic sport other than boxing that excludes women. Boteler is crusading to change this, prompting strange counterargument from the sport's old-boy European leadership. In 2002, after she made her case at the International Canoe Federation in Seville, Spain, a member of the federation's executive committee expressed concern that racing might damage—of all things—women's reproductive systems.
ALL-WOMAN DRIVE: In August 2000, four months after Boteler first paddled a sprint canoe, women were invited to race with the intermediate men at the U.S. national championships. Boteler and Canadian masters champion Heather McNie stunned the field by winning the 500-meter, two-person division. "The guys were good sports about it," Boteler says. Smart sports, too: The next year, she paddled with three elite men and won the 1,000-meter, four person title.
TRADE SECRETS: Pre-workout, Boteler downs a smoothie of bananas, water from unripe coconuts, and durian, tropical Asian fruit that smells like rotten cheese. Pre-race, she warms up to Def Leppard.
SECOND OPINION: "Pam is shaking things up," says Pat Jollimore the 2000 men's masters marathon canoe world champion. "She's a great diplomat who just happens to look like Gabrielle Reese."