The British Olympic Association (BOA) has today named five slalom canoe athletes as officially selected to compete for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The athletes selected to Team GB today are:
With 93 days to go, today’s announcement brings the total number of athletes officially selected to Team GB for London 2012 to 66 across five sports: athletics – marathon, boxing, canoe – slalom, sailing and swimming.
The five-strong British squad will be aiming to achieve the first ever Olympic gold for Team GB on home water at the Lee Valley White Water Centre in Hertfordshire this summer. Team GB’s slalom canoeists have claimed five medals over the last five Olympic Games – four silver and one bronze – since the sport was introduced consistently to the Olympic Programme at Barcelona in 1992.
The British contingent will be led by Beijing 2008 Olympic silver medallist David Florence who will compete individually in the men’s C1 event. He will also compete alongside Richard Hounslow in the men’s C2, an event in which the pair have claimed medals at both World and European Championships.
Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie will also compete in the C2 event, while Lizzie Neave will be Team GB’s sole female representative, racing in the K1 class – the only women’s event on the canoe slalom Olympic Programme.
The formal announcement of the selected athletes follows a three-day selection event which took place at the Lee Valley Olympic Slalom Course from 13-15 April. The athletes were formally nominated to the BOA for selection to Team GB by the British Canoe Union, the National Governing Body for canoeing in the UK.
Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said:
“I am very pleased to welcome a full complement of five canoe slalom athletes to Team GB for London 2012. The quality of the recent Olympic selection event demonstrated the fantastic strength in depth that has been developed in GB slalom canoeing and is a tribute to the performance personnel at the National Governing Body.
“With five medals in the past five Olympics, canoe slalom has made an impressively consistent contribution to the Team GB medal count and we will do everything possible to support them in their quest to win their first ever gold medal on home water this summer. Roared on by a 15,000 strong home crowd at the fantastic Lee Valley White Water Centre, I am sure they will rise to the occasion.”
John Anderson, GB Canoeing Performance Director and Team GB Canoeing Team Leader said: “I am delighted that our canoe slalom team has been officially announced today as part of Team GB and that we have been able to select a full team of five athletes across all four classes. I believe this is probably the strongest Olympic team we have been able to field for some time, with all of the athletes capable of challenging for the podium. Having two C2 boats selected will also give us a significant advantage.”
Jurg Gotz, Canoe Slalom Head Coach said: “Having five athletes selected covering all of the four classes is a great achievement and a significant improvement on Beijing. However we know that this is only the first part of the process and over the next three months we must step up even further and rise to the challenge, if we are to realise our full potential at London 2012.”
David Florence said: “Just to go to one Olympic Games is absolutely massive, and the aim since Beijing has been to compete again in London in two categories. So to know I have finally been selected for Team GB at a home Games makes all the hard work over the last four years worth it. The hype and excitement of a home Games is going to be amazing.”
Richard Hounslow said: “I am really proud to be competing for Team GB at a home Olympics and it is something I have been working towards for a long time. The fact that I have been able to achieve my aim of doubling up in two categories with David Florence is a dream come true. The Olympics will be a whole new experience, the biggest event that I will ever compete in and I hope I can now pull it all together and get some great results.”
Lizzie Neave said: “It is a dream come true for me and I know it is going to be such an amazing opportunity with my friends and family able to come and watch me race. I am also looking forward to being part of the wider Team GB which will be really special.”
Tim Baillie said: “It is pretty surreal to be named today as part of Team GB and I am sure it will take a while to sink in yet. It is amazing, we worked hard for it all winter and spent a long time knowing it might happen and now it has, it is a shock but I am really excited. In particular I am looking forward to racing in front of a home crowd. The support Etienne and I received as a crew was fantastic at the selection event and I know it will be even louder at the Olympic Games.”
Etienne Stott said: “I am absolutely delighted to be going to the Olympic Games as part of Team GB. It has been a long and incredible journey to get to this point, having had a year battling against a shoulder injury last year. I am delighted to have the opportunity to push myself even further and see just how far I can go.”