McKeever wins Olympic K1 200m gold, bronze for Schofield and Heath

McKeever wins Olympic K1 200m gold, bronze for Schofield and Heath
By Eurosport

11/08/2012 at 16:39Updated 11/08/2012 at 21:27

Britain's Ed McKeever powered to victory in the men's K1 200m in front of thousands of screaming fans on Dorney Lake to take the first gold awarded in the new shorter and more explosive distance of racing.

McKeever, a trainee accountant from Bradford on Avon, said that having won gold he was now more willing to accept the nickname given to him by the British media.

"Luckily I've got the gold medal to go with it," said McKeever, dubbed the "Usain Bolt on water". "I'm more willing of that tagline.

"After the start, I was kind of out clean and I just held on. My main emotion was probably relief."

McKeever, who had started the race as a favourite after emerging from the heats as the fastest qualifier, powered off the start in blustery head-wind conditions to take a lead over the rest of the field.

He punched the air as he crossed the line around 0.25 seconds ahead and ran his hands through the water, before waving to the grandstands.

Spain's Saul Craviotto Rivero took the silver and Canada's Mark de Jonge the bronze.

"This morning I woke up feeling like a kid at Christmas waiting to get his presents, and I am going to go and get those presents in a minute," McKeever said after his victory, nodding in the direction of the podium.

“It’s just a kind of relief – it sounds kind of stupid – but not elation or all those other things, just relief. I'm just so happy I could do it in front of the home crowd.

“I was really buzzing and I wanted to do well. It was really painful down the last bit. The headwind made the race a bit longer.

“I knew I might struggle because I am one of the lighter guys, and we are more affected by the wind.

“I was really just focused on the first two or three strokes, and I really wanted to nail those to get out cleanly - then hopefully the race would sort itself out, and it did."

Russia's Yury Postrigay and Alexander Dyachenko blew away the field to take victory in the men's C2 200m in a thrilling sprint for the line before roaring crowds.

Raman Piatrushenka and Vadzim Makhneu of Belarus took silver and Britain's Jon Schofield and Liam Heath held on for bronze.

The Russian pair had a good start but powered away from the field in the middle 100 metres in the most comprehensive victory of the day's racing on Dorney Lake. They thrust their paddles in the air as they crossed the line and roared with delight.

Schofield felt he and Heath had underperformed in the heats and were nervous about whether they could achieve their medal ambitions at Eton Dorney.

"The last few days have been horrible," said the 27-year-old.

"That was a long race and I didn't think we were going to make it to the line.

"We weren't happy with our heats and we were really worried coming into this, but Liam goes quiet, he thinks, he's studious but he comes out with the right reaction - and that start was amazing."

The sprint over 200 metres and lasting around 36 seconds is designed to increase interest in the sport, with the canoeists taking around three strokes per second in a fast and dramatic fight for the line.

Ukraine's Yuri Cheban stormed to gold in the men's C1 200m in a thrilling race.

Cheban, a bronze medallist from Beijing, flew off the start and had half a length lead by 100 metres. Lithuania's Jevgenij Shuklin took silver and Russia's Ivan Shtyl, the 2010 world champion, took the bronze in what had been a very open event.

New Zealand's Lisa Carrington stormed through the field to take victory in the women's K1 200m to add to her world championship title and give her country its first women's Olympic gold medal in sprint canoeing.

The result consigned Hungarian great Natasa Douchev-Janics to a bronze medal after she won a silver earlier in the week. She had been in the hunt for her fourth Olympic gold medal overall.

Ukraine's Inna Osypenko-Radomska, Olympic champion from 2008 over the 500m distance and silver medallist from earlier this week, took another silver.

Britain's Jess Walker, who was not considered a medal prospect, finished seventh 1.5 seconds off the pace.