Olympics 2012

Hartley: Medal dream fulfilled

2012-08-10 10:55
Bridgitte Hartley (Gallo Images)

Bridgitte's bronze

2012-08-10 10:42

SA's Bridgitte Hartley won a bronze medal in the women's kayak single K1 500m final at the Olympic Games in London. See all the pictures.

London - Bridgitte Hartley, who scooped South Africa's fifth medal of the London Olympics, said her third-place finish in the women's Kayak (K1) 500m final on Thursday was the highlight of her life.

"It really is emotional," Hartley said.

"This is what every athlete dreams of. It's the most amazing thing that has happened in my life so far."

After crossing the line, it took a few seconds before the 29-year-old from Richards Bay fully accepted that she had secured a medal behind Hungarian world champion Danuta Kozak and defending Olympic champion Inna Osypenko-Radomska of the Ukraine.

"I heard the Hungarian shouting and knew she definitely got it," Hartley said.

"Then they put Ukraine (on the scoreboard).

"I was like 'please, please, please', then South Africa (came up) and I thought maybe they would switch it round, maybe there was a photo finish, but it just stayed there."

This was Hartley's second Olympics, having competed in the K2 1 000m with Michele Eray at the 2008 Beijing Games, where they reached the semi-finals before being eliminated.

"Beijing taught me about the hype, so I came here knowing what to expect and able to tone it down to treat it as a normal race," Hartley said.

"The first two days were still unsettling as we could only use the end of the warm-up venue (due to the rowing competition).

"It was very wavy and horrible. I was not comfortable in the boat and I was getting stressed and very anxious.

"One afternoon I freaked out, but Nandor (Almasi, her coach) got me to relax."

Hartley had finished second in her heat at the Eton Dorney canoeing venue before winning her semi-final.

"The heat felt very good," she said.

"I had a good start and everything felt good.

"My boat movement was good. It almost felt like I should have gone faster, but there was no need to because I was right up there.

"I didn't want to get over confident because it was just the heat, so I thought I must just treat the semi like a final.

"I was confused over the progression and kept saying before each race, 'you have to be top two'.

"In the last 100m of the semi I thought, 'Bridgitte don't mess this up, you have to give it your all'.

"There wasn't even an A final to fall back on, so I pushed and pushed across the line.

"All I could think was, 'oh my gosh, I just won my semifinal, that's crazy."

Read more on:    olympics 2012  |  bridgitte hartley

Cancellara breaks vertebrae

2015-03-27 21:31


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.