Martikan takes gold medal in canoe

Aug. 12, 2008, 5:26 a.m. (ET)

BEIXIAOYING TOWN, China (AP) Michal Martikan of Slovakia has won the gold medal in single canoe slalom, the first time he took the top spot on the Olympic podium since winning in Atlanta.

Martikan won silver in Sydney and Athens, finishing second both times behind France's Tony Estanguet. Estanguet finished a surprising ninth in his first run on the whitewater course and did not qualify for the finals.

David Florence of Britain won silver on Tuesday. Robin Bell of Australia took bronze.

American Benn Fraker advanced to the final and finished sixth.

Martikan was only 17 when he won the gold medal in 1996 in Atlanta. He is the No. 1 ranked canoeist by the International Canoe Federation and his combined time of 176.65 seconds was nearly 2 seconds better than Florence's time.