Having surpassed the medal target they set themselves and hit their more ambitious UK Sport “stretch target” the [British] canoeists’ successful Olympics has left them believing that they can become a force in the same way the cyclists have – despite competition from new places.
The Australian men’s kayak four ended the European stranglehold with their gold, becoming only the first non-Europeans to win something at a Games where a boycott had not limited the field. The British, like the Germans and Hungarians, will not be getting their own way in Rio.
Ian Herbert, The Independent
The trouble with huge generalisations like the one above is that they often tend not to be quite correct. So it is here: Men and Yang’s performance in winning C2 500m for China in Beijing somehow gets overlooked in the above quote about non-Europeans not winning at a Games where a boycott hadn’t narrowed the field.
We don’t happen to believe that the Australians’ performance is so unexpected, either. They’ve been doing well in crew boats at the Olympic Games for years and they’ve got several great 1,000m paddlers, to the extent that even the great Clint Robinson didn’t get a look in this time.
Anyone got a good (and more accurate view) about non-European kayaking prospects for Rio? Are we going to see large numbers of local canoeists/kayakers emerge in South America in time for the next Games? We’d love to hear from you if you’ve been out there and have some insight. Mail us!