On a day that saw four gold medals handed out to the four different countries, Ed MCKEEVER (GBR) was Eton Dorney’s golden boy, winning the coveted Men’s K1 200m gold medal and becoming the first paddler to win this distance at the Olympic Games.
Men's K1 200m
After taking the lead right off the blocks, MCKEEVER (GBR) stormed down the course with eyes looking straight ahead to the finish line. Spain’s Saul CRAVIOTTO (ESP) had the credentials to challenge the Brit, but the Spaniard who was a gold medallist in the Men’s K2 500m in Beijing, had to settle for silver in a tight finish at the end of the race.
Asked what was going through his mind as he realised he'd won the gold medal, MCKEEVER said:
To be honest, I didn't realise until I'd crossed the finish line. I didn't want to look round; I just wanted to get to the finish line as quickly as possible. It's difficult to describe.
“ It was almost a sense of relief that I'd done it, and then all the other emotions came later on, the joy, the happiness - seeing that it put a smile on the faces of the British people here, that's fantastic."
The Canadian Team have much to celebrate having won a medal each day that medals have been awarded at the Canoe Sprint competition. Today it was Mark de JONG’s turn as he claimed the bronze medal ahead of Maxime BEAUMONT (FRA) who had been firm favourite to medal.
"That was a hard race. I gave it everything I had,” said DE JONG. “I didn't know what to expect. This is my first international race at high level this year.
“I tried to squeeze out everything I had at the finish. I died at the end, but I held on."
Men's C1 200m
Yuri CHEBAN (UKR) powered on to win a deserved gold medal in the Men's C1 200m. CHEBAN gained half a boat length's lead in the first few metres of the race, and held on to it until the end, winning first place comfortably.
"We have trained very hard for these conditions,” said CHEBAN. “We were prepared for everything. (Today) suited me well.
"It's fantastic to win a gold medal. I just want to thank everybody who helped me."
The chase for silver and bronze was tight, with Jevgenij SHUKLIN (LTU) winning the silver in a photo finish with Ivan SHTYL (RUS), the 2010 World Champion and runner-up in 2011.
Spain’s Alfonso BENAVIDES LOPEZ (ESP) was also in contention throughout the race, but just missed out on a medal. SHUKLIN's medal is Lithuania's first in canoeing.
Women's K1 200m
Against a strong headwind and her (now) fierce rival Natasa DOUCHEV-JANIC (HUN), Lisa CARRINGTON (NZL) came out on top. The 2011 World Champion won a historic first medal for New Zealand in women's canoeing.
“It's been really great. You dream about this moment, “said CARRINGTON. “But I still don't believe it. It hasn't sunken in yet."
Inna OSYPENKO-RADOMSKA (UKR) finished in 2nd place to add a second silver medal to the silver she won in the Women’s K1 500m event.
"The race was very fast and very short,” OSYPENKO-RADOMSKA. “I got off to a very quick start and I was quite calm at the start, but once we got into the swing of it I was just going as fast as I could to win a medal."
The 2012 European Champion Natasa DOUCHEV-JANICS (HUN) clearly struggled with the conditions, having to settle with third place.
Teresa PORTELA RIVAS (ESP), who was a bronze medallist at the European Championship, finished in 4th place while Marta WALCZYKIEWICZ (POL), the two-time World Championship silver medallist in 2009 and 2011, had an early lead but failed to keep up with the winner's pace. She finished fifth.
Men's K2 200m
It was a resounding victory for Russia as this season’s most winning duo claimed the gold medal in the final event of the Canoe Sprint competition at Eton Dorney.
None of the challengers on the course could get close to Yury POSTRIGAY/Alexander DYACHENKO (RUS), as the duo took lead from the start and kept a boat length clear of the rest of the competitors.
"It's a really tough competition,” said POSTRIGAY. “We've trained hard. It's the Olympics, and that's how it goes."
The 2009 World Champions Raman PIATRUSHENKA/Vadzim MAKHNEU (BLR) had a good second part of the race, beating Liam HEATH/Jon SCHOFIELD (GBR) in a photo finish for the silver medal.
HEATH/SCHOFIELD fought the headwind to reach the Russians but had to settle for bronze in the end.
"The last few days have been horrible,” said SCHOFIELD. “We weren't happy with our heats and we were really worried coming into this, but Liam (HEATH) goes quiet, he thinks, he's studious but he comes out with the right reaction - and that start was amazing."
The 2010 and 2011 World Champions Arnaud HYBOIS/Sebastien JOUVE (FRA) just missed a place on the podium coming in fourth place.
After a fantastic competition at Eton Dorney where throngs of spectators were at hand to witness the brilliance that is Canoe Sprint and Canoe Sprint paddlers, the competition has come to an end. There were many firsts accomplished at Eton Dorney, there was even a best time set, but if there’s one thing that is for sure, it is that Canoe Sprint at London 2012 has been a tremendous success!