Slalom Canoeing: Team GB's gold medal winner Tim Baillie did not learn national anthem in case of jinxing win


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The Independent Online

Gold-winning medallist Tim Baillie says he did not learn the words to the British national anthem because he thought it might jinx his performance.

The 33-year-old Scot won Britain's first-ever gold medal in the canoe slalom yesterday, winning the two-man C2 event with Etienne Stott in front of a crowd of 12,000 at Lee Valley.

Asked on ITV's Daybreak about a newspaper report claiming they jokingly considered humming the anthem, he said: "I did my best to sing it.

"I thought learning the words to the national anthem would be a surefire way of guaranteeing you didn't need to use it."

Ballie, from Aberdeen, and Stott, 33, from Manchester, led from the start in front of a crowd including Locog chairman Lord Coe and International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.

They were forced to wait anxiously at the bottom of the course as their rivals failed to match their time of 106.41 seconds.

It was then left to fellow Britons David Florence and Richard Hounslow in the last run of the final to see if they could go faster. They missed out on gold but secured silver and a historic one-two for Great Britain.

Three-time Olympic gold medallists Slovakian twins Pavol and Peter Hochschorner had to rue their mistakes as they claimed bronze.

Speaking afterwards in the press conference, Stott said: "It's stranger than a dream, to be honest. It couldn't have gone more perfectly for our sport today. It's amazing."

The world number six pairing, who rent a house together next to the course, now plan to take some time off.

There was disappointment for Britain's Lizzie Neave in the women's K1.

The 25-year-old from Stone, in Staffordshire, qualified in second place for the semi-final but then three penalties meant she missed out on the final, which was won by Emilie Fer from France.