ABERDEEN EVENING EXPRESS – Joe Clarke is determined to go the extra mile again over the next Olympic cycle as he targets a successful defence of his K1 canoe slalom gold in Tokyo.
The 24-year-old’s victory in Rio was one of the memorable moments of the 2016 Games as Clarke delivered a first Olympic K1 medal for 12 years.
As part of his build-up to Brazil, Clarke headed to the New Zealand Alps to tackle the free-flowing natural water rapids, throwing up man-made slalom gates to help fine tune his skills for the challenges ahead, which would have included an eight-hour hike if anything had not gone to plan after taking a helicopter out to the remote venue.
While that proved a winning formula, Clarke knows he and his coaching team at the Lee Valley White Water Centre will have to continue to think ‘outside of the box’ to keep the Staffordshire athlete on course for another gold in Japan.
“I thought I might have a bit of a comedown (after Rio), ‘what happens next?’ kind of thing, but that did not really happen,” Clarke told Press Association Sport as he prepared with the rest of the 10-strong British Canoeing squad for the European Slalom Championships which get under way in Tacen, Slovenia at the start of June.
“After a bit of time off, I sat down with my coach and talked about what was next, if there was any motivation to carry on, of which there is massive amounts, even after the success. I kind of signed myself up for the next four years to chase that dream again in Tokyo to repeat the success.