Vincent-Lapointe not ready to give up grip on C1 200

Photo : www.canoeicf.com
www.canoeicf.com|17-Aug-2019 17:37

It seems only fair that the woman who has done more than most to get women’s canoe onto the Olympic sprint program is now a red-hot favourite to win the first C1 200 Olympic gold medal in Tokyo next year.

Laurence Vincent-Lapointe was campaigning for canoe’s inclusion in the Olympics long before many others even realised it was a cause worth supporting. As such, the tall Canadian got a significant head start on the rest of the world on the water as well.

Its fair to say very few have made up ground on Vincent-Lapointe in the past three years. She has a stranglehold on the C1 200, and its hard to see how she can be beaten in Tokyo next year.

The 27-year-old has won every C1 200 world title, bar one, since 2010, when the event was first added to the world championship program. In 2015 something very strange happened – she finished fourth.

And it’s not just that she has won everything, but the way she has won. The field contesting women’s canoe has been growing every year, especially since it was announced it would be in the Olympics.

The standard has also been rising, but Vincent-Lapointe’s grip on the race has not loosened one bit.

“I surprise myself every race, because being the first to win does not mean much if you don’t stay the first” Vincent-Lapointe said after winning world cup gold in Poznan this year.

“2010, here, it was my first world championship medal, and the fact that I’ve stayed on top for this long always amazes me.

“In a way I was the first here, but I also want to be the first next year, and maybe the year after that also. I want to be remembered not because I was the first, but because I stayed the first.”

Russia’s Olesia Romasenko is the athlete who has been chasing Vincent-Lapointe the hardest. Silver at the 2018 world championships, silver at the 2017 world championships – even fifth when the Canadian was fourth in 2015. Nobody knows better than Romasenko what Vincent-Lapointe’s back looks like.

She has been European champion for the past three years, but finished fifth at this year’s European Games. Gold went to Belarus’s Alena Nazdrova, the other athlete who has regularly taken minor medals in recent years.

A bronze medalist at last year’s world championships, her gold in Minsk was a major career breakthrough. The 20-year-old has also performed consistently at a world junior and U23 level.

And the other athlete to watch – the veteran Stanilya Stamenova. When women’s canoe first appeared on the world championship program, it was the Bulgarian who challenged Vincent-Lapointe the most.

She won the gold in 2015, the year the Canadian went missing, and won bronze in 2011 and silver in 2013 and 2014. She was also European champion in 2012, 2014 and 2015. But it’s been a long time since the 31-year-old has made the podium at a major international.

2018 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Gold: Laurence Vincent-Lapointe (CAN)

Silver: Olesia Romasenko (RUS)

Bronze: Alena Nazdrova (BLR)

2017 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Gold: Laurence Vincent-Lapointe (CAN)

Silver: Olesia Romasenko (RUS)

Bronze: Kincso Takacs (HUN)

2015 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Gold: Stanilya Stamenova (BUL)

Silver: Kincso Takacs (HUN)

Bronze: Kamila Bobr (BLR)

2019 EUROPEAN GAMES

Gold: Alena Nazdrova (BLR)

Silver: Lisa Jahn (GER)

Bronze: Dorota Borowska (POL)