Canadian Thomas Hall won a bronze medal in the C-1 1,000 canoe race on Friday, moving from fourth to third in the final 200 metres. He finished in a time of three minutes and 53.653 seconds.
Hungarian Attila Vajda (3:50.467) captured the gold while Spaniard David Cal (3:52.751) took the silver. Both men were strong medal contenders heading into the race.
Hall caught Vadim Menkov of Uzbekistan in the final 200 metres and finished about half a second ahead of him to reach the podium.
"I'm ecstatic. I don't know what else to say," Hall told CBC Sports. "I knew I had the ability but I didn't know if I really had it on today. I'm really thrilled and I couldn't be happier.
"It was all adrenaline," he said of the final 200 metres. "I looked a little earlier and knew I was sitting in fourth. I have raced that guy a lot and I know he has gotten faster but I couldn't feel a thing. It was really great."
Hall, 26, from Pointe-Claire, on Montreal's West Island, has had a breakthrough season. He won gold at the Pan American Championships and has two victories on the World Cup circuit. He also beat out teammate Mark Oldershaw for the right to compete in this event in Beijing.
C-2 1,000 (men)
Canadians Andrew Russell and Gabriel Beauchesne-Sevigny finished sixth in a dramatic race.
Germans Christian Gille and Thomasz Wylenzek, heavy favourites in this race, jumped out to an early lead and expanded it over the course of the race. But a hard-charging pair from Belarus, Andrei and Aliaksandr Bahdanovich, picked up the pace in the last few metres, gaining about six inches with each stroke, and passed the Germans at the line to clinch the gold.
Hungarians Gyorgy Kozmann and Tamas Kiss claimed the bronze. It was an emotional victory for the pair; Kozmann's long-time partner, Gyorgy Kolonics, died suddenly during a training session a few weeks before the Games started.
Russell and Beauchesne-Sevigny were paddling in fourth place near the midway mark but couldn't keep up with the field and faded in the second half of the race. "It was really tough. The race went well," said Beauchesne-Sevigny. "We gave it our best. I give credit to the other guys. The best [crew] won this race."