Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Lee Valley White Water Centre, Waltham Cross
Date Started: August 2, 2012
Date Finished: August 2, 2012
The Hochschorner twins, Pavol and Peter, were the overwhelming favorites to take gold in the men’s C-2 slalom, having won it in the last three Olympics and the last four World Championships. In the preliminary round they had two of the three fastest times, although they were edged out by the French duo of Gauthier Klauss and Matthieu Peche for the fastest overall. The Hochschorners came in second in the semi-finals to David Florence and Richard Hounslow of Great Britain, but this was due only to a two-second penalty incurred by hitting a gate on the way down. [Timothy Baillie] and Etienne Stott, also of Great Britain, edged into the finals by placing sixth, thus ensuring that the crowd of 12,000+ hometown spectators would be roaring from start to finish.
As it turned out, however, Baillie and Stott set a bar for the race that was never surpassed. The winds at the Lee Valley White Water Centre picked up during their run and began to sway the gates, making the course more difficult for all subsequent paddlers. Aside from Florence and Hounslow, all the other teams hit at least one gate on their way down and, for the Hochschorner twins, this was costly: without the two-second penalty, they would have taken the gold medal. As it happened, however, the Hochschorners had to settle for bronze after an excellent run by Florence and Hounslow gave Great Britain the top two spots, the first time that this had happened in the event (although in the inaugural 1972 competition, East and West Germany ranked first and second respectively). The fans were cheering and the entire British team, including their coaches, jumped into the water to celebrate.