Slovakian twins hard to beat in men's canoe double
02 August 2012, 10:45
London - The competitors in the men's canoe double enter Thursday's semifinals and finals in the same position they've all been in for over a decade: Looking up at Slovakian twins Pavol and Peter Hochschorner.
The Hochschorners have dominated their sport like few others, winning back-to-back-to-back golds in Sydney, Athens and Beijing. Though they're now 32 years old, they're currently ranked first in the world and are the heavy favorites to make it four straight golds at the Lee Valley White Water Centre.
After all, they've won three world championships since Beijing.
There's some hope for the rest of the field: The Hochschorners didn't qualify first for the semifinals.
That honor went to up-and-coming French pair Matthieu Peche and Gauthier Klauss, ranked eighth in the world. The Czech Republic team of Jaroslav Volf and Ondrej Stepanek, longtime rivals of the Hochschorners, took Olympic silver four years ago and could finally have a chance of winning that elusive gold medal.
The women's kayak single, also held on Thursday, could become the biggest day yet for 19-year-old Spanish sensation Maialen Chourraut.
Chourraut was 16th in Beijing, but she's since risen to become No 2 in the world and was the fastest in the heat sessions. Two-time world champion Corinna Kuhnle of Austria will be competing in her first Olympics, and 19-year-old Slovakian Jana Dukatova beat out two-time gold medalist Elena Kaliska for her nation's spot.
There's little doubt that Great Britain's Lizzie Neave will be the crowd favorite. She's also got a legitimate shot at gold after taking bronze at the world championships in 2011.
- Sapa / AP