The renowned Teutonic dexterity with the paddle was on full display on Wednesday, with medals all round for the German Olympic paddlers.
Sebastian Brendel, a 24-year-old from Potsdam, raced to gold in the 1,000-metre single canoe sprint on Dorney Lake, coming in just under a second ahead of the Spaniard David Cal Figueroa, while Essen’s Max Hoff won bronze in the 1,000-metre kayak single sprint.
“Unbelievable,” said Brendel after the race for his first ever Olympic gold. “I got into it well and after 250 metres I realized that I was doing something. I could do the course pretty well. I’m enjoying the triumph. I sacrificed so much.”
But Hoff, the former world champion, had hoped for more, but said he was “happy with a medal.”
Brendel also used his moment in the limelight to call for more investment in German sport. “In most sports it’s impossible if you’re not a professional,” he told the Hamburger Abendblatt.
“If we want German sport to be successful in the next few years, then we have to invest more.”
There were also bronze medals for Martin Hollstein and Andreas Ihle in the kayak doubles over the same distance, and silvers all round for the 500-metres kayak fours for women – Katrin Wagner-Augustin, Carolin Leonhardt, Franziska Weber, and Tina Dietze.
The German quartet was pipped by the Hungarians by barely half a second – it was Germany’s first defeat in the Olympic event since 1992.
“At the moment it seems like Germany always gets the silver,” joked veteran of the crew Wagner-Augustin. “Silver is the new gold.”
Meanwhile, the German table tennis team were able to break, or at least slightly loosen, the Asian stranglehold on the table tennis medal table.
Star player Timo Boll won both his singles games in the bronze medal match against Hong Kong, leading the team to a 3-1 victory.
“I had to play at a really high level,” Boll said after the match. “None of us were sure if I could really take the thing. Now we’re going to celebrate.”