London 2012 Olympic kayaking: Ed McKeever claims GB’s 26th gold

Ed McKeever secures Great Britain's 26th gold medal of London 2012 with victory in the men's 200m sprint

Great Britain K1 200m gold medallist Ed McKeever claimed he was like a kid at Christmas after he stormed home to victory at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The 28-year-old, in his first Games, dominated the race from start to finish and finished in a time of 36.246 seconds to win Team GB’s 26th gold medal and their 10th at Eton Dorney.

McKeever admitted he felt an overriding emotion of relief as well as delight at being able to perform in front of a home crowd.

This morning I woke up at five o’clock and I was like a kid at Christmas, just waiting to open his presents – and I’m going to go and get my present in a minute,” said the trainee accountant.

“It’s just a kind of relief – it sounds kind of stupid – but not elation or all those other things, just relief. I’m just so happy I could do it in front of the home crowd.

“I was really buzzing and I wanted to do well. It was really painful down the last bit. The headwind made the race a bit longer.

“I knew I might struggle because I am one of the lighter guys, and we are more affected by the wind.

“I was really just focused on the first two or three strokes, and I really wanted to nail those to get out cleanly – then hopefully the race would sort itself out, and it did.”

McKeever, who had already set an Olympic record in his heats, was happy to have added to the overall Team GB medal total.

And he paid tribute to the people who have supported him through the build-up to the Games, as he ponders whether to defend his title in four years at the Rio Games.

He said: “I’m so happy I could contribute to the medal table

“There are so many people I would like to thank. Obviously my coach, Alex Nikoronov, but also my training partner Ed Cox who pushes me day in, day out, but unfortunately only one of us can compete at the games, and in my case, I’m lucky it’s me.

“I haven’t made any long-term plans. I’m 28, so it could go either way.”

Saul Craviotto Rivero, from Spain, took silver while Canada’s Mark de Jonge finished third to claim bronze.

© Sportsbeat 2012

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