Lisa Carrington has become New Zealand's most decorated Olympian of all time after winning a gold medal in the K1 500m final this afternoon.
Carrington surpassed fellow canoe sprinting great Ian Ferguson for the most Olympic medals by a New Zealand athlete with her sixth medal this afternoon at the Sea Forest Waterway.
It comes after Carrington won two gold medals on Tuesday when she defended her K1 200m crown and combined with Caitlin Regal for the K2 500m title.
It was never going to come easy. Three lanes down sat Carrington’s longtime rival Danuta Kozak, who desperate to back up her 2012 and 2016 Olympic titles with a historic third gold.
Carrington flew out of the gates once again, putting a boat length between her and trailing Hungarian Tamara Csipes, bursting through the 250m mark with a strong lead of just over a second.
Csipes refused to die wondering and began to slowly haul Carrington's boat back in the second half of the race, but the Kiwi remained calm and cool to power through the line and make history.
Carrington crossed the line in a rapid 1:51.216 to take her third gold of these Games, her fifth overall, and sixth medal in her storied career.
Csipes took the silver, 0.639 seconds behind Carrington, while Denmark's Emma Jorgensen took bronze. Two-time defending champion Kozak had to settle for fourth, over two seconds behind the New Zealander.
Upon exiting her boat, she took a moment to sit and realise what she had just achieved. She was embraced by members of her New Zealand team and burst into a smile. Spent from her efforts, she sheltered under an umbrella in the scorching Tokyo conditions.
"It's crazy," Carrington said when asked how it felt to win three golds in a week in Tokyo.
"I'm so proud and so amazed at what actually happened this week.
"The way that I approached that 500m was basically emptying the tank completely. It hurt a lot but it means I gave everything."
Carrington thanked all her supporters cheering her on in New Zealand.
"I don’t think us sportspeople do what we do to get popularity but we’re going out there, we’re doing it for our country, for our whanau, for our friends. I just hope I represented New Zealand on the world stage as well as I could."
Her breathtaking Olympic efforts are not over yet. She is back in the water tomorrow in the K4 500m alongside Regal, Alicia Hoskin and Teneale Hatton to chase a fourth gold medal.
Minutes later, New Zealand men's pair Max Brown and Kurtis Imrie finished fifth in the K2 1000m, wrapping up a brilliant effort on their Olympic debuts.
The pair started well, sitting in fourth at the first mark. The middle half was going to be crucial for their medal chances.
But they struggled to keep up, following their brilliant semifinal efforts earlier in the day.
With 250m to go they were in sixth place but they pushed back well in the final moments to finish in fifth. It was a great achievement for the rookie pair and will fill them with confidence going forward in their careers.
Earlier in the afternoon, Regal won the B final in the K1 500m. She had been sitting in second at the halfway mark but powered ahead in the second 250m of the race to win by 0.238 seconds. The result meant she finished ninth overall.
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