The women ruled the water Thursday at the Sea Forest Waterway, as Seattle's teenaged Nevin Harrison -- the youngest competitor in the C-1 200m race -- earned the first-ever gold medal for an American in women’s canoe slalom or canoe sprint. A history-making victory that resulted in tears of joy, Harrison has a bright Olympic future ahead of her and may usher in a new generation of U.S. canoers and kayakers.
Harrison grew up with dreams of reaching the Olympics in track & field, running the 100m and 200m sprints. But running became painful, leading to a diagnosis of hip dysplasia, a condition wherein the hip socket and thighbone aren't properly connected.
That condition led Harrison to a new sport -- one that didn't require running -- and ultimately a path paved with Olympic gold.
Meanwhile, New Zealand's Lisa Carrington added another Olympic gold to her stacked resume, further solidifying her status as one of the world's greatest-ever kayakers.
Read more about each final:
Men's K-1 200m Sprint
A photo-finish left Group A finalists lost in the water following a breathless race, excited and confused faces searching for definitive results after the eight kayakers completed their competition. When the smoke cleared, Hungary's Sandor Totka emerged victorious with a 35.035 time. Italy's Manfredi Rizza scored silver with 35.080, and Great Britain's Liam Heath -- the Rio 2016 gold medalist who crushed the quarterfinals yesterday (with a faster time of 33.985 seconds) -- earned his second kayaking bronze with 35.202, having finished third in the K-2 200m event at London 2012.
Unfortunately, this discipline won't make an appearance at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Women's C-1 200m Sprint
A new American champion in (atop?) the water!
Team USA's 19-year-old Nevin Harrison -- the youngest competitor in the final, who hails from Seattle -- won the first-ever women's C-1 200m in a blazing 45.932, the only racer to finish sub-46 seconds. The 2019 World Championships gold medalist won by more than a nose, defeating Canada's silver medalist Laurence Vincent-Lapointe and Ukraine's bronze medalist Liudmyla Luzan.
After her emotional victory, a tearful Harrison embraced her coaches. "You beast!" one of her teammates said, earning laughs. "An Olympic champion!"
Women's K-1 500m Sprint
New Zealand's Lisa Carrington can't be stopped.
The 32-year-old superstar won her third gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a time of 1:51.216, following victories in the K-1 200m and K-2 500m events. It was Carrington's fifth career Olympic gold and sixth overall medal, and an improvement upon her bronze medal-worthy K-1 500m performance at Rio 2016.
Hungary's Tamara Csipes (1:51.855) and Denmark's Emma Jorgensen (1:52.773) earned silver and gold, respectively.
Men's K-2 1000m Sprint
Australia pulled off another astonishing first-place finish at these Olympics by edging out world champions Germany for kayak gold.
Teammates Jean van der Westhuyzen and Thomas Green -- in their debut Games -- held onto the top spot from the moment they took off, barely keeping the European pairing of two-time Olympic medalist Max Hoff and Jacob Schopf at bay. The Czech Republic's Josef Dostal and Radek Slouf fought hard for first, adding to a chaotic race that saw each duo kick it into high gear.
Those top three teams all finished within a second of one another, but the Australians snatched gold in 3:15.280.