Lisa Carrington paddled her way into the history books winning the Bronze Medal in the K1W 500m A Final today. She adds it to her Gold Medal in the shorter K1W 200m distance, raced on Tuesday.
The extraordinary effort makes her the first New Zealand woman to win two Olympic medals in a single Olympics, joining a very small group of male athletes including childhood hero Danyon Loader. Lisa was the first Maori to win a Gold Medal and now double Olympic Medal.
Lisa Carrington makes history with Bronze in K1W 500m and Gold in the K1W 200m.
Ever the media darling, Carrington was under a lot of pressure to do well. A smaller overall medal haul by New Zealanders this Olympic games must have made it even more intense. Great results at the ICF World Canoe Sprint Champs over the last couple of years also raised expectations.
Coach Gordon Walker, was impressed with how Lisa had paddled in the Semifinal. Carrington qualified with second in her heat, while conserving her energy for the Medal race today.
There's no point looking at times [in the semifinals]. The semi is a race no-one can win, but it means everything if you lose.
The 500m takes a lot of energy and builds up lactic acid in the body. Recovery centres around the athlete clearing the acid from the muscles so they can perform at their peak. Lisa went against her competitive instinct to hold herself back.
Maryna Litvinchuk of Belarus powered out of the starting buckets, quickly gaining half a length ahead of the pack. Kozak turned on the power at the 200m mark, taking the lead by halfway. Her unorthodox paddling style came into its own, with power-packed strokes adding to the lead at every push. With clear water between the end of her boat and the rest of the field, it was an emphatic win by Kozak.
Carrington played the start very conservatively in an exceptional field so that – and this must be a first – she was dead last at halfway. Then she put her foot down to make a strong comeback, moving swiftly through the field to join Jorgenson, Litvinchuk, Weber and Zhou in the fight for a medal. Jorgenson surged over the line to take second with Carrington just 0.046sec behind in third place.
Despite being such a convincing race win, Kovak’s time was well short of the Olympic record time of 1:47.741 set by fellow Hungarian Douchev-Janic in 2004.
K1W 500m Final race finish photo
6 HUN KOZAK Danuta 1:52.494
3 DEN JORGENSEN Emma 1:54.326
2 NZL CARRINGTON Lisa 1:54.372
5 BLR LITVINCHUK Maryna 1:54.474
5 GER WEBER Franziska 1:54.553
1 CHN ZHOU Yu 1:54.994
8 SRB RUZICI BENEDICK Dalma 1:55.095
7 AZE OSIPENKO-RODOMSKA Inna 1:56.573
Gold Medal: Danuta Kozak, Hungary
Kozak was always the favourite: she owns the 500m distance, having won the Gold in the K2W 500m earlier this week. She has four other Gold medals. Kozak did not compete in the K1 500m last year, which helped Lisa’s history-making 200m-500m K1 double win.
On the day it was Kozak made her own history by becoming only the second woman to win consecutive gold medals in the K1W 500m event.
Silver Medal: Emma Jorgensen, Denmark
Just 20 years old, Jorgenson’s performance has put her firmly in the spotlight as a future canoe sprint star. In Denmark she still races in the under 21 category. Some enthusiastic waving from the podium, followed by an overflow of emotion on seeing her family highlights Jorgenson’s lack of experience at this level – and was very sweet to watch.
Speaking to Sky Sport after the race, Lisa looked relieved to have the competition behind her, likening the physical weight of the Bronze medal to the feeling of expectation in the build up. As humble as ever, Carrington pointed to the strong support of her coach, Gordon Walker, physio, and loved ones as one of the core reasons for her success.
She encouraged more young women to get into kayaking:
[Kayaking] is an amazing sport to be part of; you get to travel the world and paddle in beautiful places like here in Rio. And it's exciting, it's where you get challenged and pushed as a person and grow. Lisa Carrington
ICF Website: Great Olympic news, packed with info on the competitors
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