Rio de Janeiro, August 19 (TASR) – Slovak quartet Denis Mysak, Erik Vlcek, Juraj Tarr and Tibor Linka secured silver for Slovakia in the men’s kayak four (K4) 1000 metres race at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.
Being overpowered only by the sovereign Germans and narrowly beating the Czechs, the Slovak team won fourth Olympic canoeing medal for Slovakia since the country gained independence in 1993.
Equally, this was the fourth medal for Slovakia at the Rio Olympics overall. Slovak athlete Matej Toth gained gold on Friday in the men’s 50-kilometre race walk, while two earlier medals at Rio were also secured by canoeists, albeit those coping with whitewater – cousins Ladislav and Peter Skantars won gold in double-canoe slalom and Matej Benus was second in single-canoe slalom.
Erik Vlcek, 34, who turned over the boat after crossing the finish line a few centimentres before the Czechs on Saturday, won his third medal at his fifth Olympics in what’s considered the most prestigious kayaking discipline, and he’s thereby become a legend in the sport. Vlcek already had bronze from Athens 2004 and silver from Beijing 2008.
“The Olympic medal from Rio has a fantastic taste … it’s better than any other. This has been an extremely difficult year for us, both physically and mentally. We were pretty self-confident initially, then we lost the confidence … We knew that a medal can emerge from the K4 race, however. It was difficult and pretty painful, but it was worth it,” said Vlcek after the race.