Kenneth Wallace | Australian Olympic Committee

Kenneth's Story

Gold Coast’s Ken Wallace claimed his third Olympic medal at the Rio 2016 Games alongside Games debutant Lachlan Tame, with the duo winning bronze in the K2 1000m.

Coached by Jimmy Owens the pair powered out of the start to sit behind leaders Germany at the halfway mark of the race. With Germany continuing to extend their lead, it was a battle for silver and bronze with the Serbians holding off Australia, leaving Ken and Lachlan to snap up bronze ahead of Portugal.

Ken, a Gold Coast lifesaver who barely knew canoe/kayaking existed eight years prior, made history by winning gold and bronze medals in the 500 metres and 1000 metres single kayak events respectively at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. He was the first Australian to win medals in both Olympic forms of individual paddling at the same Games. In his second gold medal final he defeated Canada’s Olympic champion Adam van Koeverden, who was unbeaten in the event since 2006. He also got the better of Britain's Tim Brabants, who was his conqueror in the K1 1000m the day before. After crossing the line to win gold, Ken heaved himself from his kayak into the murky waters of the Shinyu course.

“I was just stoked,” he explained later. “Suddenly the paddle was up in the air and I ended up going for a swim.”

After his 2008 win he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) and was Australia’s most successful male athlete at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Ken narrowly missed the opportunity to race the K1 1000m at London 2012, but raced in the K2 1000m alongside eventual K4 1000m gold medallist David Smith. The pair only came together months before the Games and came within a boat length of winning a medal, finishing fourth in the London Olympic final.

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