Rio Olympics 2016: Bronze medal for Lisa Carrington

By David Leggat

Lisa Carrington celebrates her bronze medal on the podium after the final of the women's K1 500m event. Photo / AP
Lisa Carrington celebrates her bronze medal on the podium after the final of the women's K1 500m event. Photo / AP

Lisa Carrington's second medal of the Rio Olympics today wasn't the coveted gold but still enough to put her in a special place in New Zealand Games history.

The gifted kayaker won the bronze medal in the K1 500m to sit nicely with the gold in her specialist K1 200m event 48 hours earlier.

Carrington is the first New Zealand woman to win two Olympic medals at the same Games, and she now has three to put on her mantelpiece, after her gold in the K1 200m in London four years ago.

That puts her in a category with board sailor Barbara Kendall, who won gold, silver and bronze at three successive Olympics from 1992, and shot putter Val Adams, who has two golds and a silver from the last three Games.

Carrington is also the eighth New Zealander to have won two medals of any colour at the same Games, a feat which has been achieved 11 times, but kayak trailblazers Ian Ferguson and Paul MacDonald, and eventing rider Blyth Tait all did it twice.

Carrington was in a four-way battle for the minor medals and just sneaked into third by a blink, behind 20-year-old Dane Emma Jorgensen, and the decisive winner Danuta Kozak of Hungary.

Q&A with Lisa Carrington

Don't call her The Girl With the Golden Guns

Kozak, like Carrington, also a gold medallist from earlier in the regatta, was simply too good, winning in 1min 52.494s, with Jorgensen clocking 1:54.326 and Carrington was .046s back in 1:54.372.

It was desperately tight from second to sixth placing, which were covered by .698s.
Fourth placed Maryna Litvinchuk of Belarus was just .012s behind Carrington, who was off the pace through the first 250m before mounting a surge to push herself into the minor medals frame.

But there was no stopping Kozak, who had earlier won the K2 500m gold with Gabriella Szabo, and has now won four Olympic gold medals.

"She's amazing," Carrington said, adding her immediate emotions were how tough the regatta had been.

"I'm just proud I could line up in two races and do my best so I'm happy.

"It just showed how strong the field is, and how strong Danuta is.

There was no sign of disappointment she could not make it two golds and perhaps a recognition that at this point, with Kozak back in the picture after taking a couple of years out of single seat racing, it was a step just out of reach.

However Carrington, 27, also made it clear she's targeting more success - after a decent break.

"I will have a really good break. This is pretty much me for the time, I can't confirm any real plans now but there's always growth.

"Danuta is an incredible paddler and that's something I want to strive for. It's exciting, it's great to have that fire to keep going."

Carrington was struggling to explain her emotions immediately after the race, but she was still on a high.

"It's huge. It's not necessarily the race I'm feeling. It's all the work I've put in, the amazing journey I've had so far. It's true joy."

She praised the work of her support team, notably coach Gordon Walker who has managed her campaign over four years.

"He's been amazing," Carrington said.

She reflected that at no time in her early years growing up in Ohope did she imagine success on this scale.

"No way. I can't even imagine being in the position I am and can't believe what I've achieved. It's something I never thought I could do."

New Zealand's kayaking women have another day of racing to come, with the K4 500m quartet of Jaimee Lovett, Caitlin Ryan, Aimee Fisher and Kayla Imrie lining up in their heat early tomorrow.

Carrington, good mates particularly with Lovett growing up together in surf life saving in the Bay of Plenty, has high hopes.

"The girls are young and green and exciting to watch. I know they will perform the best they can and I think their racing will be amazing."

Just the word to describe Carrington's achievements in Rio.

New Zealanders with two or more Olympic medals at the same Games:
Peter Snell, 800m and 1500m gold, Rome 1964
Ian Ferguson, Paul MacDonald and Alan Thompson, single and team kayaking, Los Angeles 1984
Ferguson and MacDonald, single and team kayaking, Seoul 1988
Mark Todd, eventing individual gold and team bronze, Seoul, 1988
Blyth Tait, eventing individual bronze and team silver, Barcelona 1992
Tait, individual gold and team bronze, Atlanta 1996
Danyon Loader, 200m and 400m freestyle, Atlanta 1996
Lisa Carrington, K1 100m gold and K1 500m bronze, Rio 2016

Most successful New Zealand female Olympians

Three medals:
Valerie Adams, athletics (gold 2008, gold 2012, silver 2016)
Lisa Carrington, canoeing (gold 2012, gold 2016, bronze 2016)
Barbara Kendall, board sailing (gold 1992, silver 1996, bronze 2000)

Two medals:
Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell, rowing (gold 2004, gold 2008)
Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, sailing (gold 2012, silver 2016)
Rebecca Scown, rowing (silver 2016, bronze 2012)
Vicki Latta, equestrian (silver 1992, bronze 1996)

- with AAP

- NZ Herald

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