After a four year cycle in which they battled each other, teammates and the world, Tim Hornsby (Atlanta, Ga.) edged out Ryan Dolan (Kailua, Hawaii) in the Men’s K-1 200m B Final Sunday to clinch the lone men’s sprint kayak slot at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Hornsby finished 5th with a time of 35.962, +0.334 seconds behind the race’s first place finisher. Dolan placed 8th with a time of 36.210, +0.248 seconds behind Hornsby.
The race caps a tense year in which a number of U.S. athletes vied for the single Olympic spot. Dolan earned the spot for Team USA with a Bronze medal performance at the 2011 Pan American Games. Hornsby made it a two-man race by winning the 200m event at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in April. The two kayakers battled to an inconclusive result at last weekend’s World Cup No. 1 in Poland, bringing us to Sunday’s decisive showdown.
Hornsby on being named to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team:
“I’m still not really sure if it’s real. It’s been such a long process, not only with this process, but the process of going to the Olympics has been a dream forever. It’s amazing that it’s actually happening. I’m tripping out. I can’t believe it.”
On how long he’s had Olympic aspirations:
“I remember being a kid, I was always watching the Olympics and I wanted to go. I wanted to be a soccer player, whatever, it’s every kid’s dream to go to the Olympics. Then I started getting more serious into kayak. It’s been a dream. I’m not really sure what to say, it’s amazing. It hasn’t sunk in.”
On the support he’s received:
“I’m really happy. I talked to my mom. It was a phone call I always wanted to have. I always wanted to call my mom and call my dad and tell them that I’m going to be an Olympian.”
“It’s crazy. There has been a million people come up to me, congratulate me, that have been supportive of me through the whole process. My family’s not here, they were here last weekend [in Poland]. All these people, they mean a lot to me. It’s really nice having so many amazing athletes being happy for you and congratulating you. I’m part of the club now.”
On his mindset heading into World Cups Nos. 1 and 2:
“I’m just trying to focus on the process. If I can paddle using my legs and do the things I’ve been doing in training for the last six months and execute my plan, I know I can go fast and I know I can do better. Even with the results here, I know I can go faster. By executing parts of my plan, I know it’s a possibility to go to the Olympics and really be in the mix. You never know with the 200 [meter]. It’s hard when it’s so results-driven - you have to win here, you have to do this, and you have to do that - to really stay focused on the process. But when I focus on the process, it’s how I race well. So that’s been the biggest struggle for me is just continuing to focus on the process and continuing to make that how I go fast and not worrying about the outcome. I’m just trying to do what it takes for me to paddle well, and if I paddle well, I’ll win it.”
On his performance this weekend:
“It came together for me this weekend much better than last weekend [at World Cup No. 1]. I was paddling technically better. Obviously, it’s a race of a lifetime to qualify for the Olympics, so in that respect, it’s the greatest race of my life. As far as the execution of what I’ve wanted to do, it’s much closer to what I’ve been training for and trying to do. There’s still things I would like to improve on, that process is never ending. I really want to work hard to make those improvements. As far as making the Olympics, it’s the best moment of my career.”
On if this is the best he’s ever paddled:
“I’m capable of doing better than I’ve ever done before. I don’t feel like I’ve entirely executed exactly what I want to do. It’s been really difficult with the stress and the continuing process. But hopefully now, I can really focus on the process and I think I’m capable of doing for sure better than I’ve ever done. I’ve done my PRs [personal records] this year, so it’s looking really good. I’m really excited. It’s starting to feel real.”
On what happens between now and London:
“I still have to figure that out, figure out the exact plan. But most likely, I’ve been training with the Canadian team for quite a bit, and it looks like that’s what I’ll be doing. I’ll be training with the Canadian athletes, with their 200 meter group. We’ve had a really successful World Cup tour, that’s who I was training with all last week and the week before and then the weeks before that in Georgia. So I think I’m going to continue on that, they’re really good guys, good group. Right now, I’m going home and there will be a week of recovery and resting from this process and then straight back into the training, getting ready to go and ready to go to the Olympic Games.”
On what he was doing this time four years ago:
“I went with [2008 U.S. Olympian] Rami [Zur], I guess the official thing was a training partner. So I was there in Beijing training with Rami, in Japan beforehand. So I got to go and see the process and basically pretend like I was racing, do all the training, everything leading up. We spent the whole summer in Europe training with the Aussie team that year. So I was in Europe for three months, I raced all the World Cups, raced in Sprint Cups, made my first A Finals in the K-1 200 and the K-2 as well.”
USA Canoe/Kayak is a non-profit membership organization based in Oklahoma City, OK, promoting canoe and kayak racing in the United States. A member of the United States Olympic Committee, USA Canoe/Kayak is the national governing body for the Olympic sports of Flatwater Sprint and Whitewater Slalom and the official U.S. federation of the International Canoe Federation. Other paddling sports sanctioned by USACanoe/Kayak include Marathon, Freestyle, Wildwater, Stand Up Paddleboard, Canoe Polo, Canoe Sailing, Outrigger, and Dragon Boat. For more information about USA Canoe/Kayak, please visit us on the web at www.usack.org, on Twitter at @usacanoekayak and Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/USACanoeKayak.