Olympic gold medallist Etienne Stott insists compatriots and rivals Richard Hounslow and David Florence have shown more guts than he might have managed himself after they put their London 2012 woes behind him in style this summer.
Despite being under the banner of Team GB when it comes to international canoe slalom, Hounslow and Florence go head-to-head with Stott for the sport’s biggest prizes.
And last summer it was Stott who was left celebrating most as, along with Baillie, he claimed C2 gold at the London 2012 Olympics, forcing Hounslow and Florence to narrowly settle for silver.
However, since the Games, Stott and Baillie’s progress has been halted with the former suffering a dislocated shoulder while Hounslow and Florence have gone from strength to strength, being crowned C2 world champions in September in Prague.
Stott could do nothing to stop them and watched on in awe of Hounslow and Florence’s determination, the latter also claimed C1 gold for a historic World Championships, admitting that if the roles had been reversed, he would have found it difficult to get back out on the water.
“While I have been off injured Richard and David won the World Championships which is obviously very good for them,” said Stott, talking at a Get Set to Make a Change workshop in London.
“It is almost a sense of justice for them as they missed out by such a fine margin at the Olympics. It was only 36 hundredths of a second that they missed out on gold at London 2012 and that proved that they are a very good crew.
“Winning the world title this summer was a massive result and showed that Great Britain is strong in canoe slalom and the doubles category especially.
“And credit to them. I would have found it extremely difficult myself just being second on that day in London last year, it would have been tough to swallow.
“But they have done what they needed to do, they have worked hard and made the improvements they needed to and it has worked out, so fair play to them.”
Stott is set to be sidelined until the start of next year with his left shoulder needing plenty of time to get back to full strength.
But, with Hounslow and Florence performing better than ever in his absence, the 34-year-old is adamant he will be return to give them a run for their money once again.
“With Richard and David winning gold it shows that canoe slalom is going really well in this country and that can only be a good thing,” Stott added.
“Having two strong crews like myself and Tim and Richard and David is good because we both push each other along and that can only be a good thing.
“But seeing what they did at the World Championships this summer made me want to get back that bit more and show them what we can still do as a pair.”
© Sportsbeat 2013