Robinson determined to compete at 5th Olympic Games
8 January 2007
With a full mantle of Olympic medals already in the trophy cabinet, Clint Robinson is determined to add one more and paddle his way into the record books at the 2008 Beijing Games.
If he’s successful he will join canoeists Dennis Green (1956 – 72) and Adrian Powell (1960 – 76) to be only the 3rd Australian canoe/kayak athlete to have competed at five Olympic Games.
“I love to paddle. I love working hard and don’t think I am physically or mentally ready to give it up. I really enjoy the sport and know that I have the passion to pursue one more Games” he said.
Sixteen years after becoming Australia’s first canoe/kayak gold medallist when he beat Norwegian world champion Knut Holmann in the 1000 metres singles final in Barcelona in 1992, Robinson has the golden glint again.
“I can’t be happy with bronze. There is only one medal I am coming back for and that is gold. I have put myself in a position to achieve nothing less.”
At the 1996 Atlanta Games, Robinson lined up against Holmann again in the 1000m K1 singles final and although he led early was beaten into third place by the Norwegian.
At the 2004 Athens Games, Robinson combined with Nathan Baggaley to win a silver medal in the K2 500m final.
“I am concentrating on the singles for the 2008 Olympic Games. It’s early in the lead up and I will keep an open mind, but I don’t really want to rely on other people’s potential”.
On the opportunity to pair with Baggaley in 2008, Robinson described his Athens team mate as “a great quality athlete and paddler, determined just like me”.
“Once Baggaley’s position is known within the next few weeks, we can look seriously at this option and chat about the opportunities.”
Robinson travelled to China in August last year, the same time the Games will be held in 2008.
“It will be an amazing Games from a spectator point of view, but tough for athletes. The climate was difficult. The conditions were humid and there were high levels of pollution”.
“But we are all in the same position and it will be how you manage yourself in the lead up to and then during the Games that will make the difference.”
Even though he turns 36 just before the Beijing Games, Robinson believes he’s capable of paddling faster than he did in Greece.
“A lot changes over 16 years. The difference between me now and then is experience. I have a greater understanding of my body – when to read the warning signs and when to push more.”
Apart from winning the gold medal at his first Games in 1992, Robinson’s greatest memory is the Opening Ceremony.
“I remember seeing the fired arrow that started the Olympic Games. Walking into the stadium to represent my country for the first time was amazing.”