The win was a surprise as Australia was not a favourite to take the gold. Australian flags were waved at Eton Dorney as the four-man kayak crew crossed the finish line ahead of favoured teams Hungary and the Czech Republic.
The Australian kayakers were world silver medalists last year but weren’t considered serious contenders to win gold at the London 2012 event. Hungary’s Zoltan Kammerer was gunning for his fourth Olympic gold medal.
Aussies have only claimed two previous gold medals in Olympic canoeing so today’s result – which takes the country’s London 2012 gold medal haul to six – was an impressive feat.
David Smith and Tate Smith (who are not relations) were particularly pleased with the result as the pair were in the K4 1000 boat which crashed out badly in the 2008 Beijing Games, failing to make the final.
“The first 250 was always to go out and lead out the race but we weren’t as far out as we usually are so we made sure that through that middle part of the race we had good rhythm to move away from them and take advantage of our good boat speed,” Davis Smith said after the race.
“The last 300 where we kicked, none of the crews came through so we knew had the gold and all we had to do was hold on.
“Once we had 100 to go all of us started tightening up, started losing our rhythm but we just had enough boat speed to get through to the line and win gold.”