Golden McKeever accepts Bolt comparison

Ed McKeever, pictured, has finally accepted comparisons with Usain Bolt after winning gold at the Olympics

Ed McKeever, pictured, has finally accepted comparisons with Usain Bolt after winning gold at the Olympics

First published in National Sport © by

Britain's Ed McKeever said he finally deserves comparisons with the fastest man in the world after winning gold in the 200m sprint kayak at the Olympics.

The 28-year-old canoeist had previously been dismissive of his nickname "the Usain Bolt of the water", claiming it was undeserved.

But after winning gold at Eton Dorney in front of Prime Minister David Cameron, the trainee accountant from Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, said he was now willing to accept comparisons with the Jamaican sprinter.

Speaking after the race, McKeever - who started kayaking as a cub scout at the age of 10 - said: "It was a little bit frustrating watching everybody else medal for the first two weeks while we were sat in our hotel rooms watching.

"It's difficult to describe but there was almost a sense of relief crossing the finish line that I had done it and put a smile on the British faces. To be honest I ignored (the comparisons to Bolt) most of the time and just dismissed it. But luckily I have got a gold medal as well now so I am more willing to accept it."

Like Bolt, McKeever - who hits the water three times a second with his paddle - destroyed the rest of the field, winning the final by 0.3 of a second ahead of Spain's Saul Craviotto Rivero.

Brendan Purcell, head coach of sprint squad, said the 200m race suited McKeever's rock solid strength in his core muscles.

He said: "You have got to have balance and core strength to hit the water at such a rapid rate and not tip the boat.

"You have got to create force and if your body crumples you are not going to do that. Ed creates force in a very short period of time. Those guys are travelling at six metres a second so a gap of 0.3 seconds is actually a significant margin.

"Without sounding cocky, I thought that after yesterday's races somebody was going to have to do something very special to beat Ed. He was totally up for it and in the zone."

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