Hounslow's strict focus
Olympic hopeful Richard Hounslow admits there is no time for the team "to rest on their laurels".
Last Updated: 26/04/12 11:12am
There is no time for the country's best canoeists "to rest on their laurels", Olympic hopeful Richard Hounslow stated on Wednesday after it was announced he had made the slalom team for this summer's Games.
The 30-year-old believes home advantage could decide whether the best British athletes make it to the podium in the slalom canoe events, where the British side face strong competition from Eastern European nations.
Team GB is hoping for their first Olympic gold medal in the slalom event, yet performance director John Anderson has pledged to deliver at least three medals across the board.
Selectors have yet to announce their final choices for the sprint team but revealed on Wednesday that for the slalom competitions they had placed their hopes in Hounslow and 2008 Olympic silver medallist David Florence in the single slalom kayak (K1) and canoe (C1) categories.
Florence and Hounslow will also pair up in the two-man boat (C2), facing competition from a second GB pairing of Etienne Stott and Tim Baillee.
Lizzie Neave, 25, is the only woman to make the slalom team after impressing the coaches by winning all three of her selection races earlier this month.
Hounslow's selection in the single kayak event means there is no place for Campbell Walsh, who won silver at the Athens Olympic Games eight years ago.
The team announcement at the Lee Valley White Water Centre, where the slalom event will be held, brings the total number of GB athletes selected for this year's games to 66 across five sports.
In the two-man canoe event, the main competition will come from the Slovakian twins, the Hochschorner brothers, who have won gold at the last three Olympic Games.
Despite this threat, Hounslow expects home advantage to make a difference for the UK's top athletes, although he admitted the atmosphere was going to be "pretty intense."
He said: "To be selected is even sweeter because I missed out in Beijing, so to have put the effort in over the last four years and for it to have paid off is a dream come true.
"Initially, when I knew I was selected, I was absolutely delighted, hugs and things all round, but now we are back into training. You can't rest on your laurels, I am in the team but that is just one box ticked.
"We now have to prepare ourselves mentally and physically for the main event so there is still a lot more work to do and hopefully I can make a few fine adjustments here and there and bring home a medal."
Team-mate Florence said trust between the pair in the two-man event was crucial to success. He almost retired after the Beijing Olympics in search of a new challenge but the lure of competing in London proved too great.
Florence added: "I think what holds us together the most is that we want to achieve the same thing ultimately.
"We may not agree day to day on the best way to do things but we have never had a falling out which is pretty important for a C2 crew.
"It's a difficult sport to get on in because you can make major mistakes every day in training. That's the nature of canoe slalom and it is very easy to blame the other man in the boat but at the end of the day we both want the same thing which is for the boat to go as fast as it can."