Olympic Stories

Tim Brabants - Kayaking

Tim Brabants - Kayaking

Born on January 23, 1977 in Chertsey, Surrey, England, Tim Brabants is a sprint kayaker who will represent Great Britain in 2012 London, making his third appearance at the Olympic Games. Having already won three medals (Gold; 2 Bronze) in Olympic competition, Brabants is considered amongst the favorites to claim victory in the K-1 races this summer.

At 34 years of age, this is in all likelihood Brabants’ last chance to compete in the Olympics. It is not unheard of that a 38-year-old can compete at a high level in the Games; there is a precedent. But the fact remains that there are many up-and-comers in the British rank, so Tim is hoping to make the Games in London stand out as the high point of his career.

Sporting Career

Tim Brabants has been a fierce kayak competitor in the world ranks since the late 1990s, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that he really turned heads with his impressive performance at the K-1 1000m European Championships in Hungary. When Tim won the event, he not only decimated the competition, but he also became the first British kayaker to win the blue riband event. Riding high off of this impressive victory, Tim was among the favorites to win in the 2004 Olympic Games.

Entering the Olympic Games in Athens, Brabants was on an impressive streak. Just earlier in the season, Tim had won a silver medal at Poznari – a high profile European competition. And when it came time to qualify for the K-1 1000m for the Olympics, Tim had the fastest time with room to spare. When the race rolled around, however, Brabants would drop down to a disappointing 5th place, missing his opportunity to medal.

Perhaps because of Olympic disappointment, Tim decided to stop competitive kayaking for a while and to pick up his medical studies in 2005. Brabants attended the famous University of Nottingham and then worked as a doctor in Jersey before finally returning to the sport in 2006. Amazingly, Brabants never skipped a beat. He won the gold medal at Racice at the European Championships, and then a silver medal at the World Championships. He missed out on gold by only 0.06 seconds.

Proving that 2006 wasn’t simply a fluke year, working off of adrenaline, Brabants had an even better year in 2007. Winning silver and gold in the European Championships, Tim was the favorite entering the World Championships that year. He did not disappoint. Tim would take gold in the 1000m, and silver in the 500m for good measure. Again, Tim was heavily favored going into the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

Tim not only won Olympic Gold in 2008, becoming the first Briton to win a gold medal in kayaking, but he led the race from start to finish. Four years older, Brabants is hoping to repeat those impressive results at this year’s Summer Olympic Games in London.

Career Highlights

  • 1998 World Canoe Marathon Championship - Silver
  • 2000 Olympic Games – Bronze
  • 2006 World Championships – Silver
  • 2007 World Championships – Silver
  • 2007 World Championships – Gold
  • 2008 Olympic Games – Gold, Bronze

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