Tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 10, the 200-meter flatwater sprint is making its debut at the Olympic Games. It will also be the last chance for the U.S. Canoe/Kayak Team to take home a medal from the London 2012 Games.
At 9:30 am GMT (4:30 am ET) Americans Tim Hornsby and Carrie Johnson will be competing in the Men's and Women's K1 200m heats, respectively. They'll have less than one minute of guaranteed Olympic racing. That is, unless they make it to the semifinals.
For Hornsby, it's his first shot at an Olympic medal and his only event in these Games. He's passed his time in London so far by training, resting and watching his girlfriend, U.S. Olympian Becky Holliday, place 9th in the pole vault. Johnson, a three-time Olympian, raced in the 500m heats and Semifinals on Tuesday, finishing 6th in her Semifinal. She was the first to reach the 200-meter mark and the third to hit 250 meters, which actually bodes well for Friday's race.
Standing in between Johnson and an Olympic medal are 2011 200m World Champion Lisa Carrington of New Zealand, 2011 World Championship runner-up Marta Walczykiewicz of Poland, and 2012 European Champion Natasa Douchev-Janic of Hungary. Hornsby must contend with 2011 World Champion Piotr Siemionowski of Poland, 2012 European Champion Ed McKeever of Great Britain, and 2011 World Championship bronze medalist Ronald Rauhe of Germany.
According to Johnson, she has an advantage after competing in the 500m event on Tuesday. "I will have had two more starts on these start gates with the starter and two more races under my belt," she says. "So I think it definitely helps. Everything helps.”
Hornsby, likewise, isn't trying to stress out about the few short upcoming seconds that could likely define his paddling career forever. “I’ve heard a lot of people talk about the 200-meters as validating the last eight or 12 years in 30 seconds," he says. "But it’s just like any other day. It’s obviously a very special experience. I know I’m going to do the best that I can do at that time. And I know that I’ll do that. You don’t want to do anything different or make any huge changes. It’s the people that do that make mistakes.”