German kayaker wants medal with Playboy spread

Aug. 19, 2008, 7:57 a.m. (ET)

BEIXIAOYING TOWN, China (AP) Nicole Reinhardt wants to wear one shiny accessory for her next photo shoot.

And this time, the Olympic kayaker will bring along her Lycra racing suit.

Reinhardt made another splash Tuesday at the Beijing Games - and not just for her spread in the German edition of Playboy - winning her heat to advance to the 500-meter kayak double final.

"It's beautiful pictures," Reinhardt said. "Not every girl or woman has a chance to come into this magazine.

Not every woman has a chance at an Olympic medal, either. Reinhardt and partner Fanny Fischer won their K-2 race in 1 minute, 43:12 seconds, putting the World Cup winners in position to stamp themselves as the best in their sport.

Reinhardt was one of four German Olympic athletes who posed for Playboy's September edition, which is featuring four different covers. Now, her result this week is about the only thing left for the imagination.

"There's attention, but it's good," she said. "It's good for us."

Reinhardt rested her kayak paddle against her left shoulder while she spoke. You'll have to buy the magazine or surf the Web to find out where she strategically placed it for Playboy.

"My first focus is now the Olympics and what happens now," she said. "Maybe afterward, the pictures will bring a future."

She already had a fan in boyfriend Tim Wieskotter. Wieskotter, out to defend the gold medal won in Athens in the 500 K-2, said he enjoyed the photos and made no attempt to talk her out of the shoot.

"I'm proud," a smiling Wieskotter said. "They're fine pictures."

Did his kayak double partner Ronald Rauhe take a peek?

"Sure, I bought the first one," said Rauhe, laughing. "He's my partner, so I have to see the first one."

Wieskotter and Rauhe also clinched a berth in the final with a win in the 500-meter K-2. Rauhe believes they can defend their Olympic gold.

"We have much fun," Rauhe said. "We have good trainers, a good system. I think it's a combination of all those things."

Canadian kayaker Adam van Koeverden set a world-best time in the 500-meter K-1 in his qualifying heat.

He won in 1:35.554 and advanced to Thursday's semifinal. Van Koeverden held the record with a time of 1:35.630 set at a World Cup race in June in Poland.

Van Koeverden, the Canadian flag-bearer at the opening ceremony, is the defending Olympic champion in the 500 meter and also won bronze in the 1,000 four years ago at the Athens Games.

"I've been here 10 days and I have seen people winning medals, so I have just been wanting to get on with it," he said.

Van Koeverden believes he can paddle even faster.

"It was a heat, and I can go faster," he said. "I'm happy to hear that I have broke it, but I can definitely go faster than that."

Defending Olympic gold medalists Katalin Kovacs and Natasa Janic won their heat in the 500-meter K-2 in 1:42.162 and will be the biggest challenge to Reinhardt and Fischer.

American's Rami Zur and Carrie Johnson both moved on to the semifinals. Johnson finished fourth in her 500-meter kayak single heat in 1:50.221 and Zur was third in the 500-meter kayak single in 1:39.037.

"I just wanted to save a little bit for the semifinal," Zur said.

The two paddlers are the best chances the United States has to return to the Olympic flatwater medal stand for the first time since 1992.