Joe Clarke stormed to Team GB’s second gold medal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games following a sensational run in the final of the men’s K1 canoe slalom that simply overwhelmed his rivals.
The 23 year old from Harrow was considered an outside medal chance heading into the event but gave warning of what was to come after finishing third in the semi-final with a blistering display of power and control.
However it was in the final that Clarke held nothing back and a faultless run and time of 88.53 seconds propelled him into the gold medal slot.
A medal was guaranteed with just two more athletes to go but neither Slovakia's Peter Kauzer nor Jiri Prskavec of the Czech Republic could get ahead of the Brit and had to settle for silver and bronze respectively as Clarke took top spot on the podium.
The win makes Clarke the first ever British athlete to take gold in the men’s K1 canoe slalom event as well as the first to claim a medal in the event since Campbell Walsh picked up silver back at Athens 2004.
“I went out on that final run, laid it all on the line, put my all out there and that was enough to come away with the Olympic gold medal,” said Clarke.
“It is absolutely fantastic and a dream come true.
“So much hard work has gone into this and the support from the National Lottery and UK Sport has been unbelievable.
“That has made it possible to come out here on so many training camps and really maximise our advantage and that is what I did today.
“When I crossed the line and knew I had a bronze I was absolutely ecstatic.
“It got even better when that upgraded to a silver and then upgraded to a gold.
“Joe Clarke, Olympic Champion. Joe Clarke, Olympic Champion!
“It was what I went to bed dreaming about last night and what I’ve dreamed of for so many years.
“To wake up this morning thinking this is actually the finals of the Olympics and I could come away being the Olympic champion is just like wow.
“For sure I’ve had some luck and you need a bit of luck in this sport to excel and that has come today.
“I don’t know what I did to deserve that but I obviously did something right along the way.”