SLAM!Sports
 


 SPORT INDEX
 

 Previous Olympics
 









CANOE/KAYAK

Sun, August 29, 2004
Golden moment
Van Koeverden's second medal gives him a solid case to carry closing ceremonies flag
By -- Edmonton Sun

ATHENS -- When Adam van Koeverden watched the rowers on what was supposed to be Golden Pond, he wondered about it. "I thought about it for a second. I thought that maybe Canadians can't win any gold medals at the Olympics. But I only thought about it for a second,'' he said.

He made it golden yesterday.

Now, after having won a surprise gold medal to go with his bronze from the day before on the same Schinias stretch of water, he was being asked if it had crossed his mind that he might be asked to be Canada's flag bearer for the closing ceremonies.

"It has,'' he said. "I wasn't able to go to the opening ceremonies. We watched it in a castle in France, but the whole time all I could think about was that it was so (exletive) not to be there.''

Van Koeverden has to be considered for the honour.

After winning a bronze the day before, the Oakville, Ont., paddler won Canada's first Olympic canoe-kayak gold medal in 20 years.

He's just 22 and he already has a gold and a bronze and his future in front of him, so maybe they'll hold him over to Beijing to carry the flag four years from now.

He certainly came through when Canada needed him at the XXVIII Olympic Games.

The early morning medal on the second-last day of the Games assured Canada of equalling Sydney 2000, where we won three golds.

FIRST DOUBLE SINCE ATLANTA

It was the first solo two-medal summer Olympics since Clara Hughes in Atlanta and the first ever individual medal in the K-1 500-metres, where Canada's previous best was Renn Crichlow's eighth in 1992.

And this wasn't his best event.

That, he swears, was the K-1 1,000-m, where he won a bronze medal the day before.

"I came here looking for a medal in the 1,000. I wouldn't have been unbelievably disappointed if I hadn't won a medal in the 500.''

A half-hour earlier, van Koeverden shouted and threw a fist into the air when he hit the finish line and said, "I can't believe it. Amazing! Amazing!'' as he was hustled through the mixed zone on his way to the medal ceremonies.

Back with a wreath on his head and a gold medal around his neck, I suggested he was starting to sound almost ho-hum, another day at the office, about what he'd just done.

His eyes danced and a grin crossed his face.

"I just went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror and didn't recognize myself for a second. It was like, 'You just did something pretty incredible,' '' he responded.

"I've never won a big race before.''

They don't get any bigger than this one.

"For a few seconds you stand on the Olympic podium - I was able to look down on both sides for the first time.''

The Canadian media was there in the same numbers as the Sunday before, when we came looking for gold from the men's-eight rowers who had dominated the sport without losing a race for two years until they put the oars in this water. And this day we were there to see if Caroline Brunet could win gold, not van Koeverden, who had his day the day before.

'THIS IS A SURPRISE'

"This is a surprise,'' he admitted.

"This is a pretty awesome surprise.

"I didn't think I was going to win. I didn't think I was going to win by that much. That's pretty amazing.''

Van Koeverden did the run in 1:37.919 seconds, beating two-time world champion Nathan Baggaley of Australia by more than half a second.

"I didn't think I had it until the last four or five strokes.''

Perfect strokes, he said.

"Between 116 and 120 perfect strokes.

"The race in the 1,000 hadn't been perfect. This was perfect.''

He had no idea where his competition was located.

"I didn't look over. I had no idea where I was sitting at 250 (metres).''

He was a full second behind Baggaley. It wasn't until the last 100 metres that van Koeverden hit his sprint and put him away.

Van Koevenden said winning the bronze medal the day before might have won him the gold.

"I was really relaxed. I thought about how it made me feel as an athlete and a Canadian. I slept really well. I got up this morning thinking that I had nothing to lose. It felt a lot like being on 16 Mile Creek back home.''


Does Canada's low-medal haul in Athens bother you?
Yes, it depresses me
No, it's just sports
I'm disappointed, but not worried
We'll get 'em in Turin
Don't care

Results



CANOE home | We welcome your feedback.
Copyright © 2004, CANOE, a division of Canoe Inc. All rights reserved.