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The man with the golden paddle

Tony Estanguet is the only whitewater canoeist to successfully defend his Olympic title. The Slalom canoeist topped the podium in the C-1 category at all but one of his four Olympic Games, becoming the only French athlete in history to win gold in three separate editions.

A family tradition

Tony Estanguet was not the first member of his family to finish on the Olympic podium in the individual canoe slalom (C-1). At Atlanta 1996, his younger brother Patrice won bronze in the event. However, four years later Tony edged ahead of his sibling during the Olympic trials to take his place in Sydney. It was a moment of mixed emotions, and the start of an Olympic odyssey that would span three decades.

A rivalry is born

Estanguet was not the favourite going into the 2000 Games. However, in his first run in the final, he managed to complete a penalty-free descent to open up a significant lead over the man who was - the reigning Olympic champion Michal Martikan of Slovakia. The Slovak struck back in his second run, finishing faster than the French pretender, but Estanguet still did enough to claim the gold. It marked the start of an epic rivalry between the two canoeists that would span several Olympic Games and World Championships.

Greek drama

At Athens 2004, Estanguet qualified for the final slightly slower than Martikan in the preliminary heats. However, in his second run in the final, he completed a perfect descent, to put the pressure firmly back on the Slovak, who recorded a single penalty, allowing Estanguet to retain his title by a margin of 0.12 points.

Setback in Beijing

At Beijing 2008, Estanguet was chosen to carry the French flag during the Opening Ceremony, as he went in search of a third consecutive gold. Unfortunately, once on the water, he was unable to find his rhythm. Lying sixth after the preliminary heats, he finished ninth in the semi-finals and failed to make the cut for the final, opening the way for Martikan to claim gold.

A third for Tony, a first for France

After winning his second and third world titles at Seu d’Urgell (ESP) in 2009 and Tacen (SLV) in 2010, Estanguet, now 34, made it through the Olympic qualifying trials for the fourth time in a row. At the Lee Valley White Water Centre, the venue for the canoe and kayak events at London 2012, he showed age had not diminished his prowess in the slightest, recording another penalty-free run in the final to become the only French athlete to win Olympic gold at three different editions of the Games. After hanging up his paddle following his London triumph, he was elected to sit on the IOC’s Athlete’s Commission.




Canoe slalom review - France tops medals table

London 2012 - Canoeing at London 2012 saw veterans shine again and new, emerging talent firmly establish itself on the international scene. In the men's K1, Italian world champion Daniele Molmenti cemented his place in the sport while Frenchman Tony Estanguet won gold in the men's C1 as expected.

In the women's K1 France's Emilie Fer saw off a challenge from Slovakian world number one Jana Dukatova, while Australia's Jessica Fox came second to win silver.

Meanwhile, Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie landed a GB one-two, as they claimed gold ahead of countrymen David Florence and Richard Hounslow to start a new era for Britain in the men's C2.


Estanguet wins gold for the third time in Men's Canoe Single (C1) - highlights

London 2012 - watch all the action from the thrilling final of the Men's Canoe Single (C1) competition at Eton Dorney, won by frenchman Tony Estanguet for the third time, after he claimed gold at Syndey 2000 and Athens 2004.
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Mens C1 Slalom Single Medal Ceremony

ATHENS - AUGUST 18: Michal Martikan of Slovakia, Silver Medal, Tony Estanguet of France, winner of the Gold medal after Martikan was stripped of the Gold medal for being given a two second penality thus moving him into a silver medal position, Stefan Pfannmoeller of Germany, Bronze in the men's C-1 class slalom event on August 18, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Schinias Olympic Slalom Centre in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Michal Martikan; Tony Estanguet;Stefan Pfannmoeller
play tony wm cio high/estanguet_tony_wm_cio_high_,0200,0400,0600,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8

Tony Estanguet Defends Canoe Slalom C1 Olympic Title

Tony Estanguet claims gold in C1 becoming the only whitewater canoeist to defend his Olympic title. Estanguet scores 189.16 to achieve Olympic victory for the 2nd consecutive time. His old rival Michal Martikan of Slovakia covers the course the fastest but touches a gate, allowing Estanguet to win by 12 hundredths of a point. Stefan Pfanmoller takes the bronze medal. Canoe Slalom C1 Men's Final - Athens 2004 Summer Olympics - Tony Estanguet (FRA), Michal Martikan (SVK), Stefan Pfannmoller (GER)
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Sydney 2000-MINCIK Juraj (SVK) 3rd, ESTANGUET Tony (FRA) 1st and MARTIKAN Michal (SVK) 2nd
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Tony Estanguet

18 Sep 2000: Tony Estanguet of France in action in the Men's Canoe Slalom C1 event at the Penrith Whitewater Stadium on Day Three of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. \ Mandatory Credit: Gary M Prior/Allsport


  • Games
  • G 97.06
    Canoe Slalom
    C-1 (canoe single) men
  • G 189.16
    Canoe Slalom
    C-1 (canoe single) men
  • G 231.87
    Canoe Slalom
    C-1 (canoe single) men

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