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Sándor Tótka’s Olympic Gold: “I Am the Fastest Kayaker in the World”

Tamás Vaski 2021.08.05.

Hungary is steadily stacking its medals on Tokyo’s Sea Forest Waterway’s canoe sprint events. Sándor Tótka successfully won Hungary’s first gold medal in men’s kayak single 200 meters on Thursday, while Kolos Csizmadia finished just short of the podium, in fourth. In the women’s single 500 meters, Tamara Csipes won silver, while Danuta Kozák finished fourth. Nádas Bence and Bálint Kopasz had a good run in the men’s double 1000 meters, starting with a second place lead but ending in fourth.

As if he were shot from a cannon, Sándor Tótka cut through the Sea Forest Waterway of Tokyo’s 200m men’s kayaking finals, becoming an Olympic gold medalist within 35.035 very intense seconds. He had an excellent start and maintained a strong lead throughout.

Tótka during the men’s kayak single 200 meters in Tokyo (Photo: Tamás Kovács/MTI)

Csizmadia was able to make up a significant amount of distance despite having a difficult start, finishing just short of the podium with a time of 35.317 seconds. Between the two of them were Italy’s Manfredi Rizza (35.08 seconds) in second and Britain’s Liam Heath (35.202) in third.

Hungary’s First Gold and Perhaps Last Gold in the Event

Tótka won Hungary’s first Olympic gold medal in 200-meter kayaking, and it may be its last considering that 200-meter events will be pulled from the Olympics starting in Paris.

Photo: Tamás Kovács/MTI

As soon as the results were announced, Tótka spoke to his wife over the phone, telling sports daily Nemzeti Sport that “she is the only one who knows how much I put into this entire thing.” Tótka and his wife moved to a lakeside cottage as soon as the pandemic broke out, from where he would continue his training and preparations, knowing that the Olympics would return.

I am still at a loss of words. In Rio the medal did not come together for me, but life strives forward, and so now I was successful. There is a lot of conscious work behind a gold medal, I would often speak to my wife about what I can do to get better.”

In the post-match interview, Tótka declared with confidence, “I am the fastest kayaker in the world.”

Success Continues in Women’s Single 500 Meters

Csipes Tamara powered through the women’s kayak single 500 meters, reaching and maintaining second once she reached the halfway point of the track. She tried to pass New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington but was unable to, while Danuta Kozák, following in fifth, was able to press on to fourth. Carrington finished with a time of 1:51.216 minutes, followed by Csipes (1:51.855), Denmark’s Emma Jörgensen (1:52.773) and Kozák (1:53.414).

Tamara Csipes after her silver medal victory in the women’s kayak single 500 meters (Photo: Tamás Kovács/MTI

The silver medalist stated in her post-race interview that she viewed this Olympics as the biggest opportunity of her life, and accordingly she put her heart and soul into it. It felt good to show that she is capable of achieving such a feat in single kayaking, she explained, saying that she has always felt as if she were behind her teammate, five-time Olympic gold medalist Kozák.

Kopasz Wins Olympic Gold in Men's Kayak Single 1000m after 53 Years, Varga Finishes Second
Kopasz Wins Olympic Gold in Men's Kayak Single 1000m after 53 Years, Varga Finishes Second

This is Hungary's third gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. In the women’s 500m sprint kayak double, Bodonyi and Kozák won bronze.Continue reading

Csipes added that it is often her mental approach which holds her back, building the confidence to say that she is capable of achieving her goal. This time she overcame the doubts and rose above and beyond.

After the faulty start I got nervous, but I honestly looked at it with the one life, one death mentality. I promised myself that if it is necessary for success, then this will be the last single 500 meter track that I complete.”

Photo: Tamás Kovács/MTI

In the featured photo gold medalist Sándor Tótka after winning the men’s kayak single 200 meters at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Featured photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI