If you are interested in the sport of kayaking, now is the time to inspire yourself with the golden moments from the 2012 Olympics in London. Records were broken and in the kayaking, Great Britain accomplished something it had never done before; win a gold medal in the canoe slalom.
Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott Gold Medal
Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott were complete unknowns prior to London 2012. Nobody expected them to do anything more than fill in the C2 field, while prominent racing pair David Florence and Richard Hounslow looked to challenge the unbeaten Slovakian brothers, Peter and Pavol Hochschorner.
Another reason why the eventual winners weren’t even considered was Etienne Stott underwent an invasive shoulder surgery only a year ago.
The Lee White Water Valley Training Centre was party to a shock surprise when the unbeaten Slovakian duo finished in the bronze medal position; a massive 1.87 seconds behind the two British pairs. Florence and Hounslow, who completed their slalom last, were only 0.36 seconds outside the gold medal position. It was definitely a result nobody expected!
Ed McKeever Wins the Sprint
London 2012 continued Great Britain’s amazing run of form in the Olympic kayaking sprint in the form of Ed McKeever. He powered through his sprint field to win a second gold medal for his country; after the gold medal success in Beijing 2008 when Tim Brabants claimed Britain’s first-ever gold.
Murmurs of something special began as early as the heats on Dorney Lake when McKeever claimed an Olympic record, but these were soon dashed in the semi-finals when he had slipped to third. On the day of the final, though, he powered out of the gates and led from start to finish. While he only beat Spaniard Craviotto Rivero (36.540) with his 36.246 time there was never truly any doubt as to who would win.
Helen Reeves, canoeing pundit for the BBC and Olympic bronze medallist commented: “He blew the field away from the start, leaving everyone else trying to catch him. A fantastic performance. That core strength that drives the blades and the focus this man has is incredible and he hasn’t been fazed by anything.”
Australian Four Win Gold
Australia’s canoeing foursome powered home at Eton Dorney to take only the country’s fourth gold medal in the sport in 74 years. The team of Murray Stewart, David Smith, Jacob Clear, and Tate Smith added Olympic gold to their silver in the world championships by bursting out of the gates and ripping the field apart. It was a dominating performance from a team few expected to win before the London 2012 kayaking had begun.
They finished with a time of 2:55.085, with silver medallists Hungary returning a time of 2:55.699. What makes this moment so special is it could indicate a power shift away from Hungary and Germany, who traditionally have extremely strong kayaking squads.
Olympic records fell and the hoodoo carried by the likes of the UK and Australia crumbled. It was definitely an inspirational Olympics and served as a fantastic advertisement for the thrills and excitement of kayaking as a sport.
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