Sibling rivalry helps drive duo to succeed on
Kayaking superstar Lisa Carrington last night added to her world championship medal collection, claiming gold and silver medals at Racice in the Czech Republic.
The two-time Olympic champion teamed with Caitlin Ryan to dominate the K2 500 final, winning by a full boat length, after Carrington had earlier finished second in the K1 500.
Carrington, 28, was the secondfastest qualifier through the individual semifinals, behind Belarusian Volha Khudzenka, and drew lane two for the medal race.
The Kiwi was out quickly and led with 130m to go but appeared to tire over the closing stages.
There was never much between the two rivals down the straight, but Khudzenka edged ahead in the final metres to clock 1m 48.421s, with Carrington 0.289s behind.
She won over this distance in 2015 but finished third at last year’s Rio Olympics. She beat Olympic silver medallist Emma Jorgensen of Denmark into third yesterday.
Carrington now has six world titles To be the best in the world at any sport is challenging, but sometimes being the best in your family is just as daunting.
Take Australian cricketing twins Steve and Mark Waugh. Steve’s earlier rise to the top earned Mark the nickname “Afghanistan” in reference to the 1979 Soviet invasion known as “the forgotten war”.
Caroline and Georgina EversSwindell became double Olympic champions in rowing’s double sculls, despite Caroline’s teenage aversion to her twin joining the sport.
Molly and Sam Meech earned silver and bronze medals in the 49er FX and Laser classes respectively at the Rio Olympics, after building a love for sailing by navigating the world on their parents’ yacht.
Skiers Jossi Wells and Nico since 2011 — this was her second silver.
In the double-paddle event little more than an hour later, she and Ryan rocketed out of the start and were more than a second ahead through halfway. They were never seriously challenged, finishing in 1m 38.687s, with the German pair of Dietze and Weber 1.895s adrift.
Carrington has a chance to add to her haul today, when she and Ryan line up with Kayla Imrie and Aimee Fisher in the K4 crew that qualified fastest for their 500m final.
The Kiwi foursome, fifth at Rio without Carrington, was timed at 1m 30.439s, more than a second clear of the next fastest heat winners, Hungary.
“There’s been a lot of work that we’ve put into it,” said Imrie. “This doesn’t come easy and there’s been a lot of sweat and tears along the way. I’m proud of all the girls and what we’ve done to get where we are today. Hopefully, the weekend turns out for us and we can put a good performance on.”
Carrington was also quickest to qualify for her specialty K1 200 semifinals, where she has won both her Olympic titles. She clocked 40.222s, with Slovenian Spela Ponomarenko Janic next fastest at 40.300s. Porteous know the feeling as they shred — translation “ride” for alpine novices — the slopes.
The pair often eyeball their competition around the family dinner table.
Team Wells, consisting of brothers Jossi, Byron, Beau-James and Jackson, are a perennial on the New Zealand ski scene. Team Porteous, Nico and Miguel, are gaining traction.
All six will be in contention for PyeongChang Olympic places in February, barring injury.
Snow Sports New Zealand and the Olympic Committee hope to cement most selections before Christmas to maximise preparation time. The official cut-off is January 24, 16 days before the Games.
An indication of athletes’ readiness will come at the biennial Winter Games unfolding across Queenstown, the Lakes District and Central Otago in the next fortnight.
Jossi Wells finished fourth at the Sochi Olympics in the halfpipe and
Chris Wood’s path to success was forged by one of his career’s biggest setbacks. Wood is New Zealand football’s $26 million man, after his transfer to Burnley last week. A move into the English Premier League wasn’t unexpected, after his remarkable exploits with Leeds last season, but it’s still staggering — a New Zealandborn and raised striker becoming a key off-season buy and a record transfer for a Premier League club.
Consider that again. There are tens of thousands of professional footballers worldwide who’d love to take one of the 600-odd spots available at England’s 20 top teams.
Wood has risen to the top of this pile, via Onehunga Sports, Cambridge, Hamilton Wanderers and Waikato FC. His career appears a seamless progression, after plundering goals at six English clubs across eight seasons.
But that’s not quite the case. Wood reached a significant fork in the road in September 2010, and his football journey could have taken a very different direction. Yet to establish himself after two years at West Bromwich, Wood was loaned to Championship club Barnsley.
He got 90 minutes in his first match for the Tykes — a 3-0 loss to Reading — but didn’t play another full game. His stint comprised four starts, three appearances off the bench — and no goals.
“It was a tough learning curve but it was a time that made me into the player I am today,” Wood told the Herald on Sunday. “You have to go through the downs to have the ups and fight some hard times to make yourself better.”
Wood arrived at West Brom in August 2008, a move facilitated by former Waikato FC coach Roger Wilkinson. After a year in the youth system, he moved into the senior 11th in slopestyle. This time he’s concentrating on slopestyle in pursuit of the country’s second Winter Olympics medal. The first was secured by Annelise Coberger in slalom at Albertville in 1992.
Wells won Winter X-Games gold last year at Aspen but ruptured his patella tendon nine weeks ago, an incident he describes as a “hiccup” on the path to PyeongChang. He has already met the Olympic selection criteria.
“I might get a [Olympic] spot, but if I’m not skiing well before the Games and one of my brothers or another New Zealand rider is, they might get sent instead. It’s quite cut-throat.
“I’ll get back on the skis in November, and should be jumping in December.
“It [the injury] comes with territory. You pay in blood snapped tendons,” he laughs.
Porteous has graced ski slopes from 6 months old in his mum’s backpack on the French Alps. He the or started skiing aged 4.
At 15, he is contracted to work with Red Bull New Zealand and, a year ago, became the world’s youngest skier to land a “triple cork 1440”.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered it,” Porteous says. “I’ve done it twice — that’s how far the sport’s come that it’s not really a special trick any more. Now everyone’s doing it.
“But that’s the sport. It’s not just about winning. It’s also about pushing yourself to the limit.”
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Nico Porteous has been skiing since the age of 4.