Bedford’s Olympic canoeing star Etienne Stott has all the ingredients to repeat his success at Rio 2016, according to former partner Tim Baillie.
Stott and Baillie won gold together in the men’s slalom C2 at London 2012 ahead of fellow Brits David Florence and Richard Hounslow.
Since then Baillie has opted for the quieter life and retired from competition, while Stott has found a new partner in Mark Proctor.
It’s been almost six months since the pair took to the water together but, according to Baillie, the duo have formed an impressive bond.
“We still talk a fair bit but maybe not as much about competing or the Olympics and his training,” said Baillie, speaking at a Get Set to Make a Change event – a programme that looks to keep the spirit of London 2012 alive.
“But it’s interesting to see how him and Mark will get on because they seem to have started to gel really well.
“I’ve seen them and I think they have improved a lot in a really short space of time.
“So it’s exciting to see how much further they can go and how much more they can improve ahead of Rio.
“Selection is going to be really interesting and they will have to be working hard to go.”
While being Olympic champion brings its own pressures in the build-up to another Games, Baillie doesn’t believe that Stott will be heading to Rio with inflated expectation.
Instead he says the new partnership will focus on getting their preparations right and letting the rest take care of itself.
“A home Games is something special so to expect the same is unfair but hopefully they will be strong,” Baillie added.
“I don’t think it’s a case of him going into it with higher expectations after the London Games.
“I just think there will be a more rigid process that works and so that will help the development of things.
“They have got a good understanding and Mark has the same mental approach and strength (as Stott) so that is important.
“It’s fortunate that Mark was available because they have that understanding and are both top pros.
“They will need to work on consistency and getting that right but they are going well at the moment.”
Through GSTMC, the British Olympic Foundation, in conjunction with the British Paralympic Association is using the spirit of the London Games to re-inspire young people across the UK. The project is being supported by a £2.5m grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Keeping the Spirit of 2012 Alive campaign. http://www.makeachange.org.uk/