The Olympic medalist from London says goodbye. Kayaker Hradilek announced the end of his career


At the weekend, he will complete the second nomination weekend in Troja. “It’s the end of being a professional athlete. My relationship with the water is so intense, whether it’s down the river or the community of people, so I certainly won’t stop paddling and I won’t stop going to the shipyard in Troy. I will no longer be a full-time slalom skier,” said the kayaker, who, in addition to Olympic silver, also holds two world championship titles. In Prague 2013, he won it in classic water slalom, in 2017 in kayak cross.

Hradilek was fully preparing for the current season and ideally wanted to say goodbye at the World Cup in Prague in June. But two weeks ago he started feeling weakness in his left hand. “It started to get worse, that hand wasn’t working well. The link with the cervical spine, which has been my weak link since 2010, was confirmed,” he explained.

This was reflected in his performances in Veltrusy, where he received only one point for the nomination for tenth place on Saturday. It was the thirteenth on Sunday. “It was mainly the feeling of riding that convinced me that I decided to quit now during the week between nominations,” he said.

On the weekend in Troja, he would like to race to the fullest. He would like to say goodbye with an exhibition race on the weekend of June 8 and 9, when the World Cup will culminate in Prague. “I don’t have concrete outlines yet. Now will be the time to organize it,” he noted.

Hradilek was in the national team for the first time in 2007. In addition to the Olympics in London, he also competed under the five rings in Beijing 2008. He last represented at the top event in the Olympic year 2021, when he finished fourth at the European Championships in both kayaking and kaykacross.

Vavřinec Hradilek (37 years old)

A prominent figure in Czech and world water slalom. He started kayaking at the age of ten, first drawing attention to himself in 2004 with bronze at the Junior World Championships. Three years later, in his first final at the top senior event, he sensationally won the World Cup race in Prague. At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, he remained just before the gates of the finals, and in London 2012, thanks to silver, he took care of the first Czech medal. In 2021, he did not make it to the national team and was the coach of the Brazilian team at the Olympics in Tokyo.

Club/Coach: USK Prague/Miloslav Říha

Greatest achievements: two-time world champion, silver from the Olympic Games

  • OH (0-1-0): 2012 (London) – silver
  • WC (2-1-0): 2013 (Prague) – gold, 2017 – gold (kayakcross), 2010 (Tacen) – silver (he has a 2-2-1 record from patrols)
  • EC (0-1-1): 2016 (Liptovský Mikuláš) – silver, 2010 (Bratislava) – bronze (he has a record of 4-1-0 from patrols)
  • other achievements: winner of five WC races; world champion under 23 years 2009

Valuation: 4x winner of the domestic Canoeist of the Year poll (2009-10, 2012-13)

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The article is in Czech

Tags: Olympic medalist London goodbye Kayaker Hradilek announced career


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