In the men’s kayak single (K1), 21 athletes entered the Rio Games and only 15 advanced to the semifinal.
With varied results in the men's K1 heats on Sunday, August 7, the field is wide open to crown a new men's kayak single Olympic champion.
The overall top-three finishers on Sunday included: Italy’s Giovanni De Gennaro (86.85 seconds – run 1), Great Britain’s Joseph Clarke (86.95 – run 2) and London Games bronze medalist, Germany’s Hannes Aigner (87.31 – run 2). These three athletes will have the advantage of dropping in last to the 242-meter whitewater course in the semifinal.
A couple medal favorites, Slovakia’s Jakub Grigar and reigning world and European champion Jiri Prskavec of the Czech Republic, are still candidates to land on the podium despite uncharacteristic performances in the heats.
American Michal Smolen heads into the semifinal ranked 10th overall, and hometown hero, Brazil’s Pedro Da Silva, surprised many with a strong performance in his first heat which held him at a respectable standing of fifth overall at the end of the heats.
If Smolen or Da Silva land a spot on the podium in Rio, they would become the first athlete(s) from the Americas to win an Olympic medal in the men’s slalom kayak event.
If becoming an Olympic athlete isn't great enough, how about giving back to the Rio community as part of his Olympic journey? Well, that is exactly what New Zealand's Mike Dawson did in the video below.
Japan’s Kazuki Yazawa, a three-time Olympian, is a Buddhist priest, who dedicated his spare time to train for the Olympics.