Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Eton Dorney, Windsor
Date Started: August 10, 2012
Date Finished: August 11, 2012
The final of the four new canoe sprint events at the 2012 Summer Olympics was the K-2 200, a discipline in which Arnaud Hybois and Sébastien Jouve of France had been World Champions in for the past two seasons. The veteran Belarusian duo of Roman Petrushenko and Vadim Makhnyov had dominated the even before the Frenchman, winning the event in 2007 and 2009 as two of their seven World Championship titles. Petrushenko and Makhnyov had an Olympic gold medal from the K-4 1000 event in Beijing, as well as bronze from the K-2 500 in 2004 and 2008, and were poised to present a significant challenge to Hybois and Jouve for the inaugural Olympic K-2 200 title. Liam Heath and Jon Schofield of Great Britain, who had the home town advantage and the last three European Championship titles, could not be counted out either.
By posting the fastest times in the heats and semifinals, however, and at a relatively comfortable distance away from the rest of the field, the Russian duo of Aleksandr Dyachenko and Yury Postrigay quickly established themselves as the teams to beat for Olympic gold. Postrigay was a rookie, although he came fourth with a different partner in the event at the 2010 World Championships, whereas Dyachenko had World Championship medals across three different events from 2009, 2010, and 2011. In the final the Russians were even more dominant, winning the race an impressive three-quarter lengths ahead of the second place Belarusians; there was not a single opportunity for anyone else to pull ahead. Heath and Schofield had to settle for bronze, while Hybois and Jouve were left out of the medals entirely with a fourth place finish. The Russians’ margin of victory in the event, the largest of the four new canoe sprints at over seven-tenths of a second, was a fitting close to the exciting Olympic canoeing program at the 2012 Games.