Sportsmanship triumphs over rivalries
The competition may be fierce but that doesn’t stop athletes from forging the strongest of friendships with their opponents.
Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake were quick to embrace one another following the hotly contested 100m final and similar displays of sportsmanship came in the wake of the sprint canoe finals at Eton Dorney yesterday.
In the men’s 1000m kayak singles, four of the top five finishers had spent considerable time training together, despite each being of a different nationality.
In the build up to London, Olympic Champion Eirik Veras Larsen of Norway took month-long training camps with Canada’s Adam Van Koeverden (2nd), Denmark’s Rene Poulsen (4th) and Sweden’s Anders Gustafsson (5th). All the while, the four exchanged podium positions at major championships.
Second placed Van Koeverden tweeted: “Big congrats to [Eirik Veras Larsen] from Norway, our K1 1000m Olympic Champion. Always a pleasure to be on the podium with you my friend!”
Gustafsson also congratulated the medalists, adding: “Thanks for pushing me to my limits. I gave it my everything. It’s not every four years. It’s every day.”
23-year-old Poulsen posted an extended message of respect for the race winner, who is 13 years his senior. “Dear Eirik Verås Larsen: You are THE MAN!” he wrote on Facebook. “He might be older than me but is also one the best there has ever been in K1 1.000 meter.”
He added: “if someone should beat me, I'm happy it's these guys: (All some of the greatest ever)”
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