‘Bridgitte don’t mess this up, you have to give it your all’

2012-08-10 09:18

London – Canoeist Bridgitte Hartley, who scooped South Africa’s fifth medal of the London Olympics, said her third-place finish in the women’s K1 500m final was the highlight of her life.

“It really is emotional,” Hartley said.

“This is what every athlete dreams of. It’s the most amazing thing that has happened in my life so far.”

After crossing the line yesterday, it took a few seconds before the 29-year-old from Richards Bay fully accepted that she had secured a medal behind Hungarian world champion Danuta Kozak and defending Olympic champion Inna Osypenko-Radomska of the Ukraine.

“I heard the Hungarian shouting and knew she definitely got it,” Hartley said.

“Then they put Ukraine (on the scoreboard).

“I was like ‘please, please, please’, then South Africa (came up) and I thought maybe they would switch it round, maybe there was a photo finish, but it just stayed there.”

This was Hartley’s second Olympics, having competed in the K2 1 000m with Michele Eray at the 2008 Beijing Games, where they reached the semifinals before being eliminated.

“Beijing taught me about the hype, so I came here knowing what to expect and able to tone it down to treat it as a normal race,” Hartley said.
“The first two days were still unsettling as we could only use the end of the warm-up venue (due to the rowing competition).

“It was very wavy and horrible. I was not comfortable in the boat and I was getting stressed and very anxious.

“One afternoon I freaked out, but Nandor (Almasi, her coach) got me to relax.”

Hartley had finished second in her heat at the Eton Dorney canoeing venue before winning her semifinal.

“The heat felt very good,” she said.

“I had a good start and everything felt good. My boat movement was good. It almost felt like I should have gone faster, but there was no need to because I was right up there.

“I didn’t want to get overconfident because it was just the heat, so I thought I must just treat the semi like a final. I was confused over the progression and kept saying before each race, ‘you have to be top two’. In the last 100m of the semi I thought, ‘Bridgitte don’t mess this up, you have to give it your all’. There wasn’t even an A-final to fall back on, so I pushed and pushed across the line.

“All I could think was, ‘oh my gosh, I just won my semifinal, that’s crazy’.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.