News

Olympics Day 3

 

Olympics Day 3 Finals

Today was the turn of the Mens K1, Mens K2, C1 and Womens K4 500m.

First up was the Mens K1. In the qualifying rounds Van Koeverden of Canada looked to be the man on form. Hoff was probably 2nd favourite then pretty much the next five guys were inseparable on paper.

Who did I have down as my favourite? Eirik Veras Larsen. Why? Because 3 years ago while at a surf ski race in Dubai I chatted to him regarding his possible return to the sport after a year off. At that stage he was undecided, commitments and career outside of sport were making demands on his time and he told me “unless I believe I will win the Gold I will not return to racing”. This was said with conviction and honesty, not  for effect. I believed him at the time and when I saw him racing the next season I followed his progress on the water and  via his facebook posts. Always positive, always analytical and always heading toward his stated goal.  

His typical raceplan has been to take the first half relatively easy and finish strongly which has led to accusations of washriding in the past. From the outset here at Dorney he was far more positive over the first 500m. Talking to one of his team after the semi finals I asked if they thought he could win. The answer was “yes but only if he works harder still on the first half, he cannot afford to be more than one length down at halfway”. Today from the outset he was always in contention, by 400m out he  looked to be the likely winner. Never more than a length down  on Van Koeverden who had no answer to his relentless progression and did very well to hold himself together down the last 250m.

Hoff the other prerace favourite came in 3rd and Poulson from Denmark took the painful 4th place. Tim never really featured among the contenders and I am sure will be disappointed with his showing today but that is the nature of an athlete. To get as far as he did in this competition was very creditable and I hope he can see that in a few days time.

The Mens K2 was supposed to be a showdown between the flare of the Hungarians and the might of the Germans but it was the Swedes who took the race to the field, sadly (for them) they blew over the last few hundred meters and fell out of medal contention. It was the Hungarians who took over at this point but both the Germans and Potuguese were hunting them down in the latter stages. A win by 5 hundredths of a second saw a Hungarian revival in mens kayak fortunes at a time when it really felt like their talent pool was running dry.

The C1 race was taken by Brendel from Germany despite an incredible last minute charge from David Cal of spain who took his 4th medal in this event in the last 4 Olympic Games. Oldershaw from Canada was 3rd after the initial challenge from Goubel of France fizzled out in the last quarter of the race. 

In the women’s K4 it was the turn of one of our stated potential medal hopes. Our women’s K4 had been so impressive last year fading to an unfortunate 4th after leading this race past the halfway point. However after a year which saw coaching changes, crew changes, and seat changes they have never been on that sort of form. A fifth place finish looks pretty good on paper but they were never up the sharp end of the race lying in 7th with 100m to go. A solid last 100m saw them overhaul 2 more crews but the excitement and level of performance of last year’s race was never matched.

The shock winners were Hungary who have not won this race since 1992, always losing out to the Germans. They also looked pretty dire at the European Champs just a couple of months back when they struggled to get back on terms with our girls after a terrible start. Somehow they turned their form around and never looked like being overtaken in the whole race.  The Germans had to settle for 2nd place this time with Belarus taking third spot ahead of the Polish who had promised so much in the semis on Monday and who I had down for a win.

The less said about the B Finals the better. They are a mix of unfortunate losers from the semi finals, no hopers and people who don’t actually want to be there. There is not enough depth of talent or even enough athletes competing to make these a worthwhile process.I am pretty sure the day could have done without them. Do they actually serve a purpose? Does anyone actually want to go and race them? I know the (first time viewing) guys I was watching with totally lost interest during these substandard races. They can’t have been the only ones

One of the most significant observations from todays finals is the age of some of the main players

Larsen 1976 (36)

Oscarson 1977 (35)

Niellson  1976 (36)

Kokeny 1975 (37)

Ihle 1979 (33)

Cal 1982 (30)

Van Koeverden 1982 (30)

Kovaks 1976 (36)

There is hope for (nearly) all of us!


Feature Product

Nelo Ocean Ski Viper 2
[click for details]

Home | Racing | Ocean Racing | Slalom | Quadrathlon | Adventure | Touring | Expedition | About Us
Second Hand | Accessories | Clothing | Hall of Fame | Kit Report | Wholesale | Events | News | Contact Us Cookies| Privacy Policy| Terms & Conditions
Web Design Surrey
Web Design Surrey Web Design Surrey