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Calm and content Mallory Franklin savours Olympic silver medal in canoe slalom

Great Britain's Mallory Franklin during the Women's C1 Canoe Slalom Final at the Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre on the sixth day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Picture date: Thursday July 29, 2021.

By Eleanor Crooks, PA
Mallory Franklin had found contentment even before she achieved the best result for a British woman in Olympic canoe slalom history by taking silver in the C1 class.

The 27-year-old is a former world champion and multiple medallist at all levels but had been denied a shot at Olympic glory before the category was included for the first time here.

And Franklin took her chance superbly, posting a brilliant run and then watching all her rivals fail to overtake her until hot favourite Jessica Fox took to the water last.

The Australian, widely considered the best individual female paddler, had never managed an Olympic gold but she did not put a foot wrong, beating Franklin’s time by more than three and a half seconds.

Helen Reeves, who took bronze in the K1 in Athens in 2004, was Britain’s only previous female Olympic medallist.

Franklin, from Windsor, had qualified fastest from the heats but a mistake on an upstream gate during the semi-final saw her through to the final in sixth.

She was smooth and fast from the start when it really counted, with her only mistake coming when she picked up a two-second penalty for hitting gate 15.

Franklin said of her medal: “It’s crazy. I don’t think it’s sunk in. I don’t know when it will sink in. Probably about five months knowing me.

“It’s really cool to know all the hard work and all the stress, all the learning and tears, and a week ago when I was crying my eyes out, all of that builds to something where I know who I am, how I want to be, and just be able to sit on that start-line and just go and enjoy my paddling and be calm in who I am and it doesn’t matter if I came down and it all went terribly, it doesn’t change who I am.

“That freedom that it gives me allows me to produce good runs.”

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