Set against the backdrop of white water rapids, canoe slalom is a dramatic sport, for spectators as much as participants. Competitors run a rapid river course marked by gates (two poles suspended over the water). Speed is key, and no part of the canoe, paddle, athlete or gear can touch any part of the gate. Furthermore, the positioning of the gates forces athletes to negotiate cross-current moves and make careful use of eddies and waves. David completes in C1 (canoe singles) and C2 (canoe doubles) events.
As well as athletic skill and positive attitude, it is essential that David maintains deep domain knowledge of the technicalities of his sport. In fact, it can be the difference between winning and losing: through knowledge of how his canoe behaves on different water flows and currents David can accurately assess the risks associated with the approach to every gate on a course.
Since taking up canoe slalom in 1997, David has been competing for Britain since 1999. Having won a number of medals in team events, he won his first individual World Cup medal in 2005, which he followed up with a World Cup Gold medal the following year. Silver medals followed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Now though, he is intent on Olympic Gold. He says, “The Olympic Games has always been the greatest attraction for me in sport. It's such a huge spectacle and I’m always excited to be part of it. I tend to take things one Olympic cycle at a time so, right now, all of my focus is on Rio 2016.”