Stott and Baillie claim Britain's first canoe slalom Olympic gold, while Hounslow and Florence take silver
Thursday, 02 August 2012
August 2 - Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie claimed Britain's first ever canoe slalom Olympic gold today in the two-man event at London 2012, ahead of compatriots Richard Hounslow and David Florence who took silver in the same event.
Spurred by the roar of a 12,000-strong capacity crowd of British canoe fans, Stott and Baillie shaved a full two and a half seconds off the day's previous best time to register a winning 106.41sec, while Hounslow and Florence recorded 106.77 at the Lee Valley White Water Centre.
"It's weird, it could have been a disaster and now it's a dream," Stott said.
"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."
Britain's first gold in Olympic canoe slalom was already a certainty when Hounslow and Florence set off on the last run of the final.
The only question that stood to be answered was whether they could beat their compatriots' time.
"We lost it on the final paddle to the line to be honest," Hounslow lamented.
"But at least we get to stand on the podium and hear the British national anthem."
Despite being considered the biggest threat to Stott and Baillie, three-time Olympic champions, twin brothers Pavol and Peter Hochschorner of Slovakia, took bronze after hitting a gate to finish outside the British crew's time.
Scot Baillie explained: "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."
Today's victories with come as something of a welcome relief to GB Canoeing, following two disappointing days on the Lee Valley course where Britain had failed to reach the individual finals.