Joe Clarke’s family revel in paddler’s Olympic gold medal win

Published: Thursday 11th August 2016 by The News Editor

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Joe Clarke’s golden moment was made all the sweeter by the fact his nearest and dearest were in Rio de Janeiro to witness it firsthand.

The 23-year-old from Staffordshire was thrust into the public consciousness on Wednesday by impressively winning the men’s K1 canoe slalom.

Clarke’s wild celebrations were matched at the Whitewater Stadium by the vocal British contingent, with his friends and family leading the celebrations.

Having stood on the podium as ‘God Save The Queen’ played out and done most of his media duties, the paddler found a few minutes to see his family, running up the bank to the waiting Union Flag-clad group.

“Everybody is ecstatic,” Clarke’s father Shaun, a bricklayer from Stone, said.

“Nobody can ever expect too much from this sport, everyone tries to deliver their best on the day. Sometimes it goes for you, sometimes it doesn’t. Today was Joe’s day.”

Clarke’s mother Mandy, still clearly taken aback, told Press Association Sport: “It’s absolutely amazing. The support he has had has been phenomenal. The shouting, the screaming – it’s amazing.”

In all, 16 friends and family made the trip to Rio de Janeiro to see Clarke’s tilt at glory.

From Stafford and Stone Canoe Club colleagues to nine-year-old cousin Vincent, there was no lack of support in Deodoro.

Clarke’s brother Luke added: “It was worth every penny to get out here, for sure.

“It was very emotional to see him do that, very emotional. It is still yet to sink in – he must be on top of the world and I am just made up for him.”

Among the excitable group was his girlfriend Charlotte Eddery-Joel and her family.

“I have been having a dream for the last three months that he was going to win a bronze medal – I didn’t think that it was going to be gold,” the 24-year-old said, beaming.

“I feel like I am still in a dream and I am going to wake up soon – it is all so surreal.

“Once he had won the medal I didn’t care what colour it ended up being – I was just delighted.

“It’s intense – the amount of time he has put in to get out here to Brazil to train so many times this year and the amount of effort to get up early every morning.

“He has not always had the best time in other competitions over the years but this is just ridiculous.”

Published: Thursday 11th August 2016 by The News Editor

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