Joe Clarke might have been one of the surprise gold medalists for Team GB back in August but he now has visions of being one of the greatest in Canoe Slalom history.
Clarke battled his way past a high quality field to pick up his first major individual gold following four team medals in previous World and European Championships.
His exploits saw him become a star in his home country overnight with a trip to meet the Queen and the awarding of an MBE following his return to Great Britain.
The 24-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent is now back in competition mode, finishing second on his return to the water at the Oceania Championships in New Zealand on January 29.
Clarke’s hard work is paying off and he is determined to keep the medals coming for the rest of his career.
He revealed, “I have ticked off Rio, I am looking to go towards World Championships, European Championships, World No.1 and World Cup overall winner.
“There are a lot more accolades out there and challenges to be had, that is the main plan, to push on from the accolades I have already got and be the greatest of all time.
“I was sat there in the Rio water with Peter Kauzer and he said ‘I’ve got the other titles but you pipped me to gold this time’. He said I have done it the right way around, because it is the hardest to win.
“Hopefully I can tick off a few World’s, Europeans and World Cups and then I’ll have them all to my name.”
How has life changed since that memorable day in August? “Life has just gone crazy,” Clarke said.
“I thought I would be able to come back, enjoy myself and take a holiday but it has been the complete opposite!
“Meeting the Queen is one of those things that you can’t really pay money to do. You have to be invited to see her. For her to come and meet the athletes and actually come up to me, ask me some questions and show her gratitude for our performances for the country was just fantastic and it is something I will remember for ever.”