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Bradford on Avon club's Olympic gold medal delight
Friends and coaches at the Bradford on Avon canoe club where Team GB gold medalist Ed McKeever embarked on his quest for success today said their star sportsman showed early signs of promise as a quiet schoolboy.
The 28-year-old stormed to gold for Great Britain in the 200m kayak sprint at Eton Dorney today, leading from the start as he powered over the line ahead of Spaniard Saul Craviotto Rivero and Canadian Mark de Jonge.
He said he finally accepted the nickname of the "Usain Bolt of the water after cementing his reputation as a sprint champion.
Though his success on the water today was little surprise to members of the Bradford on Avon Rowing Club, where McKeever's interest in watersports blossomed.
Club committee member Steve Missen today said they expected their young prodigy to reach the podium when the 200m sprint was confirmed as an event at this year's Games.
He said: "Ed was a great sprinter on the water, he usually did 500m and he was extremely quick.
"But his best skill was his fast start. He was always exceptionally quick off the blocks, and so when the 200m event was announced we knew he had a great chance of gold."
McKeever's career on the water began in 1997 as a young teenager, when he would attend the club where his father, Derek, remains membership secretary.
Mr Missen said: "Ed began to come down after school, then train with the seniors. We knew there was something a little bit special about him even then.
"He is very quiet, always has been. You would struggle to get words out of him sometimes, but we know that was because he was listening to everything everybody told him.
"Whereas many youngsters reckon they know it all, Ed would really listen. He would take on board the advice older members would give him, work on it, then improve.
"There were lots of club members up at Eton Dorney, cheering Ed on today. Considering we are just a small club, we are so proud of what he's achieved.";