Fri, September 20, 2013

Whitfield crash left van Koeverden in tears

Devoted silver-winning race to his Olympian friend

By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency


Canada's Adam van Koeverden paddles his way to a silver medal during the Men's Kayak Single (K1) 1000-metre during the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London. Van Koeverden was thinking about his good buddy Simon Whitfield while racing for a medal Wednesday. Dave Abel/QMI Agency


LONDON - Ever the Canadian Olympian, Adam van Koeverden has long been inspired by his teammates across other sports.

He is in regular contact with winter and summer athletes and counts cyclist Clara Hughes and triathlete Simon Whitfield as two of his closer friends. Watching Whitfield crash out of his final Olympics was an emotional event for van Koeverden and one that he used to draw strength prior to Wednesday’s silver-medal paddle in the men’s K1, 1,000-metre event.

“I was crying yesterday watching Simon’s race,” van Koeverden admitted. “I wanted to write Simon’s name on the front of my boat but I didn’t have a marker so I just wrote with my finger on my deck and thought, ‘This one’s for the Whitfield legacy.’ “He deserved more. I am certain he would have run with those guys.”

With Whitfield and Hughes both making it clear that the London Games will be their last, it’s natural to speculate about van Koeverden’s future. The Oakville, Ont., native is cognizant of his own Olympic legacy — a four-time medallist now which puts him in some elite company — but will his third Games be his last?

At age 30, van Koeverden could still have some competitive years left in him, but isn’t prepared to make that decision right away.

“I don’t feel like I’m done paddling,” van Koeverden said. “But I feel like I need some time away from it to know for sure.”

Like most Canadian observers, van Koeverden was also ticked at the fact that Canadian soccer star Christine Sinclair was taking heat from FIFA for ripping into officials after the controversial loss to the U.S. on Monday night.

“That was painful to the end,” van Koeverden said. “It was bull (crap). I’m behind Christine Sinclair and you can print that.”

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca

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