Whitewater Stadium hosts the men’s canoe single (C1) and men’s kayak single (K1) slalom heats on Sunday. Watch the stream of canoe/kayak slalom heats beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Olympics app.
The gold medal in the one-person whitewater canoe is completely up for grabs since the retirement of three-time Olympic C1 slalom gold medalist Tony Estanguet, who was recently elected vice-chair for the International Olympic Committee Athletes Commission.
The favorite in this event would have been 2012 London bronze medalist Michal Martikan, but to much surprise, he failed to make Slovakia’s Olympic team.
The whitewater is now open to four medal contenders. Slovania’s Benjamin Savsek, the gold medal favorite, won silver in the men’s C1 at the 2015 World Championships and gold at the European Championships. Great Britain’s David Florence won silver at the London Games in the canoe double (C2), but took gold in C1 at the 2015 World Championships, leaving him projected to win silver in Rio. The bronze medal is predicted to go to Slovakia’s rising star and Martikan’s successor, Matej Benus, who has won seven medals at the ICF World Championships.
However, don’t count out two-time Olympian Casey Eichfeld of Team USA; the dark horse in this event won gold at the 2015 Pan American Games and is vying for a medal in Rio.
You can watch the stream of the men’s C1 semifinal and final on Tuesday, August 9 beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Olympics app.
The men’s K1 is pretty straight forward and has a heavy favorite, Jiri Prskavec, who won gold at the 2015 World Championships and 2016 European Championships.
Slovakia’s Jakub Grigar may have to battle Team USA’s Michal Smolen for the silver medal. Smolen had a great chance to compete at the London Games but ended up watching from home due to American citizenship issues beyond his control.
Smolen, who is coached by his father Rafal, has the fitness and drive to take home the gold in Rio and may capitalize on anyone’s mistakes on the course if given the opportunity.
You can watch the stream of the men’s K1 semifinal and final on Wednesday, August 10 beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Olympics app.