Rio 2016 Medal Moments: Liam Heath K-1 200m gold

A bronze medallist from London 2012, Liam Heath went into Rio 2016 as the newly-crowned European K-1 200m canoe sprint champion.

The 32-year-old from Guildford had already won three world silver medals, two bronze medals, and three other European titles, but had yet to win a global gold.

All that changed in Rio though, and Heath returned home having completed the full set of Olympic medals.

Adding to his London 2012 K-2 200m bronze, Heath teamed up with Jon Schofield to upgrade that to a silver in Rio, before taking the ultimate prize in the solo K-1 200m event.

Heath powered to victory in his heat, stopping the clock at 34.327 seconds, which sent him through to a semi-final that he also won, 0.251s faster than his opener.

That just left the final, the time of 35.197s – slower than both his previous efforts – did not matter, all that counted was that he crossed the line first, 0.165s ahead of France’s Maxime Beaumont.

Here we take a look at Heath’s medal moment, and hear what he was thinking the moment he crossed the line.

The slight headwind made the race a bit longer so I had to keep that in mind and try to keep the pace at the end of the race.

I had an inkling I had won but I was just so focused on my lane and those work blocks which is your finish point, that I’d blanked everything out.

I crossed the line, looked around and had an inkling I was in front but then when you finally see your name up on the board it starts to sink in a bit.

It’s an absolutely incredible feeling. All the efforts of so many people behind me – my team, UK Sport, National Lottery funding, my coach, my family, my friends. They’ve all been behind me and their efforts have combined in to one moment when you cross that line and it’s pretty intense.

Essentially it’s what I’ve worked for all my life. I just started coming back into the sport in 2009 after leaving it without any thought of competing again. To think that if I hadn’t come back in, I’d be missing out on this is quite scary to be honest.

I’ve got the set now after bronze in London and silver and gold in Rio. It’s incredible. I'm over the moon. Sportsbeat 2016