Published Saturday 11 August 2012

Canoe sprinter Lisa Carrington won New Zealand’s fifth gold medal of the Olympics with a superb effort in the women’s K1 200 at Eton Dorney today.
Carrington was a class ahead of some very highly-rated opposition and won in a time of 44.638s, giving her a 0.415s margin over second-placed Inna Osypenko-Radomska of the Ukraine. Hungarian Natasa Douchev-Janics, three times an Olympic champion and a strong tip beforehand, was third.
The race was paddled into a headwind, which Carrington felt might have been to her advantage.
“I can count on my endurance so I was quite confident about that aspect,” she said.
Carrington trailed the Ukrainian, who has won the Olympic K1 500 gold, initially but stormed through with a trademark strong finish.
The Bay of Plenty paddler is now the world and Olympic champion.
“There was a bit of extra pressure coming here as the world champion,” she said. “But it gave me confidence, too.”
She was the fastest of the semi-finalists, but played down that aspect. “It was only by half a second. You can’t count on that.”
Racing so late in the Olympic programme, Carrington had a long wait before she competed in her specialty event, but she said she had been prepared for that.
“We knew the schedule, and anyway I was in the K2 500 with Erin [Taylor]. It was good for my nerves to get out there and compete in that.”
Though the K1 200, a new event on the Olympic programme, is over so quickly amid a swirl of paddles, Carrington said there was still the opportunity to judge progress.
“I had a good gauge, but it’s hard when it’s your peripheral vision because it feels as if you’re always behind.”
She said she felt she had gone to the lead near the end. “Yes, I felt ahead and when I crossed the line I knew I’d won.”
The popular paddler was watched by a large group of family and friends and also by a number of other New Zealand Olympians who made the trip to Eton Dorney to help celebrate another of New Zealand’s great sports triumphs.
It is the first canoeing gold medal won by New Zealand since 1988 and the first ever by a woman, and means New Zealand has now won 13 medals at the Olympics, equal to the record haul at Seoul in 1988, though this time with more golds.