Clint Robinson

Clint Robinson and Jacob Clear compete in the K2 500m semifinal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Athlete Biography

Clint Robinson became Australia’s first canoe / kayak gold medallist when he defeated the Norwegian World Champion Knut Holmann to win the 1000 metres singles final in Barcelona in 1992. Robinson was one of a special breed of sportsmen - lifesavers who learned their paddling skills in the surf, then applied them to the discipline of the Olympic kayak. Such athletes had been competing at the Games since 1956, and by 1992 the Australian Institute of Sport had a thriving canoe/kayak unit on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Robinson paddled magnificently in his Barcelona final, holding off sustained challenges from Greg Barton (US) and Marin Popescu (Romania), then emptying every reserve of energy in a finish that edged out the favourite Holmann. Afterwards he was so dehydrated that he was unable to produce a urine sample for doping analysis for six hours. Four years later in Atlanta he lined up against Holmann again in the 1000m final and led early, but was beaten into third place by the Norwegian. (Holmann won again in Sydney in 2000). In Athens in 2004, Robinson combined with his domestic rival Nathan Baggaley to win a silver medal in the K2 500m final.

Robinson, awarded an OAM for the finest national championship record of any surf lifesaver (when his gold-medal tally reached 30), was also a promising young rugby league footballer, but from the time he was 12 his ambition in sport never deviated. In that year, 1984, he was watching the Los Angeles Games on television when his father asked him what he wanted to do with his life. Back came the answer: "I want to go to the Olympics and win a gold medal."

Harry Gordon, AOC historian