Sib­ling ri­valry helps drive duo to suc­ceed on

Herald on Sunday - - SPORT - By Grant Chap­man By Andrew Alder­son By Michael Burgess

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.”

Add the need for com­mer­cial

Getty Im­ages

Nico Por­te­ous has been ski­ing since the age of 4.

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