Slalom canoeists take gold and silver
August 2, 2012 16:36 pm
Great Britain claimed gold and silver in the two-man canoe slalom in front a jubilant home crowd.
Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie won gold in a time of 106.41 seconds, followed by Richard Hounslow and David Florence who registered a time of 106.77 seconds to claim silver.
It meant despair for three-time Olympic champions, twin brothers Pavol and Peter Hochschorner of Slovakia, who took bronze.
Baillie and Stott were first to go in the final and set the fastest time of the day, roared on by a capacity crowd of British canoe fans. The partisan spectators started cheering as the following Chinese crew and Polish crews hit gates, incurring costly penalties, and ranking themselves outside the medals.
The biggest threat to Baillie and Stott's time came from the Slovakian twins, who had won gold in Sydney, Athens and Beijing, but they also hit a gate and in the end finished outside the British crew's time.
As Hounslow and Florence were last to run in the final, that guaranteed Britain a gold medal. The only question concerned whether they could beat their compatriots' time. They made the perfect start and were ahead at the first split, but coming out of the last gate they could not stay ahead of Baillie and Stott and lost out on gold by 0.36 seconds.
After two disappointing days at the Lee Valley white water course, where Britain had failed to reach the individual finals, there were scenes of joy as the victorious team jumped in the water to celebrate.
Stott told BBC Three: "It's weird, it could have been a disaster and now it's a dream. We did feel the pressure but for me I thought we needed something to go right today. There is nothing taken for granted in this sport and getting to the final was amazing."
Baillie, from Aberdeen, added: "We just did our best, we didn't do anything different. We have had plenty of experience over the last few days of dealing with such a loud crowd. It wasn't a perfect run by any means but everything went just well enough.
"All the crews out there are really good. It's a really hard course and we went down the fastest."
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