Powerhouse Olympic Kayak Team Announced
Story via: Taya Conomos (london2012.olympics.com.au)
The 2012 Australian Olympic Canoe/Kayak Sprint team announced today has it all. The 16-strong team boasts a defending Olympic Champion, World Championship medallists, a champion ironwoman, a British-born mother, and the youngest sprint canoeists to ever represent Australia at the Games.
The announcement takes the Australian Team size to 97, representing around one quarter of the Team expected to compete at the London Olympic Games from July 27- August 12. And the kayak action set to unfold at the Eton Dorney course, also home to Olympic rowing, could deliver a gold rush for Australia.
Sprint kayaking has exploded since Australia won a record three medals at the 2008 Olympic Games.
“We had a very good Games in Beijing and we are looking to repeat that in London,” A Manager Richard Fox said.
Ken Wallace won two medals in Beijing and returns to the Olympic Team alongside a wave of paddlers inspired by his Beijing heroics.
“We have a very strong team with great chances across a number of events as shown by the number of top five finishes at the 2011 World Championships, and we hope to convert those high finishes into medals in London,” Fox said.
“The men’s K4 silver medal performance at the World Championships was fantastic and throughout our recent Olympic trials we saw world-class form from Murray Stewart and Alana Nicholls.
“Then there is the experience of Ken Wallace in the Olympic arena and we expect him to rise up again in London.”
Throughout the 2012 Olympic trials it was Wallace’s K2 partner Murray Stewart who proved to have the Midas Touch, beating the Olympic Champion in the K1 1000m and adding the K1 200m and K4 1000m to his choice of races in London along with the K2 1000m.
“We have such a tight group especially over the 1000m and we really thrive off each other in training,” Stewart said.
“Having those boys alongside me, especially Ken Wallace as the benchmark, has really helped me and you can see that the standard is so high which is really great for us leading into the Olympics.”
Different combinations will be tested during the World Cup season to decide which boats Stewart will race at the Games.
“Irrespective of which events I end up racing we will have strong crews in everything,” Stewart said, while admitting one event is closest to his heart.
“The K4 1000m has been a priority for a long time so having a few options is great, but the K4 is definitely our biggest medal chance.”
The K4 crew of Stewart and Beijing Olympic semi-finalists Jacob Clear, David Smith and Tate Smith had to settle for silver at the 2011 World Championships in what Stewart described as “almost the perfect race.”
The Aussies led until the final 250m but were pipped for gold by the favoured German crew.
“The Germans are definitely beatable. They will be the ones to beat at the Olympics but it is such an open field and we will be right in it.
“Since before I even got into kayaking as a kid, going to the Olympics has been a dream, so to have it finally happen is great,” Stewart said.