There would be no podium heroics for Australia at the Sea Forest Waterway on Tuesday as star New Zealander Lisa Carrington stole the show, claiming a pair of gold medals within the hour.
Australia had Gold Coast’s Tom Green in the final of the single kayak 1000 metres and the pairing of Alyssa Bull and Alyse Wood in the kayak double 500 metres.
The K1, in particular, is a memorable event for Australia after Clint Robinson took gold in Barcelona in 1992, while current deputy chef de mission Kenny Wallace snared bronze in Beijing in 2008.
Tokyo marked Green’s first major international outing and even he wasn’t sure what he was capable of producing in the final, given he hadn’t raced internationally since 2019.
The action was frantic from the middle paddlers as Fernando Pimenta of Portugal and Hungary’s Balint Kopasz took the race out at lightning pace.
Green seemed to be lurking and ready to time his run. But he couldn’t find even a hint of acceleration and instead began to drift back through the field, eventually finishing seventh and almost eight seconds behind eventual winner Kopasz.
Indeed, the Australian in the B final, Jean van der Westhuyzen, was able to get down the course two seconds faster than Green, who will learn a good deal from his tough day at the office.
Bull and Wood were closer to the hunt in their event, finishing fifth and just 0.7 of a second outside of the medals. But the story of the day was at the top of their field as Carrington made it a golden double for herself and the Kiwis.
Earlier, Carrington had blitzed the field in the single kayak 200 metres to win the event for the third-consecutive Olympics. She’s in Dawn Fraser territory in her boat but won’t be able to do it a fourth time, with that particular race being removed from the program for Paris in 2024.