Brabants went into the 2008 Beijing Olympics attempting to shake off the disappointing memory of failing to medal at the 2004 Games. Fifth place finish in Athens was not what he expected after having picked up a bronze in the K-1 1,000 metres on his Olympic debut in Sydney four years earlier.
However, in Beijing, Brabants produced a sensational performance in the K-1 1,000m, leading from start to finish to become the first Briton to win a gold medal in either the sprint or slalom kayak discipline. He also won a bronze medal in the K-1 1,500m to wrap up his most successful Olympics to date.
Brabants' success has not been confined to the Olympics, though. He claimed gold in the K-1 1,000m at the European championships in 2002, 2006 and 2008, and picked up gold at the world championships in 2007.
The fact that the 35-year-old has become a doctor around his training as an elite-level athlete, and has twice taken 18 months out of competitive action to pursue his medical career, after the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, makes his success in sport even more remarkable.
He was awarded an MBE in 2009 for his services to sport, and although he failed to qualify for the 2011 world championships, a successful defence of his Olympic gold this summer is well within his reach.
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- Tim Brabants
- 2008 Beijing Olympics