David Florence

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David Florence
Slalom canoeing 2012 Olympics C2 GBR David Florence and Richard Hounslow.jpg
David Florence (right) and Richard Hounslow at the 2012 Summer Olympics
Personal information
Full name David Florence
Nationality British
Born (1982-08-08) 8 August 1982 (age 32)
Aberdeen, Aberdeenshireb, Scotland
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)[1]
Weight 78 kg (172 lb)[1]
Country United Kingdom
Sport Canoe slalom
Event(s) C-1, C-2
Club Forth

David Florence (born 8 August 1982 in Aberdeen) is a British slalom canoeist who has competed since the early 2000s.[1] He was the 2013 world champion in individual canoe (C-1) slalom, and pairs canoe (C-2) slalom, the latter with Richard Hounslow. Florence was the first canoeist since Charles Dussuet, sixty years earlier, to achieve the C-1, C-2 'double' in the same world championships.

A double Olympic medalist, he won a silver medal in the men's slalom C-1 at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing;[2] at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London he competed in both C-1 and C-2 (with Richard Hounslow), winning a silver medal in the C-2 event.

Early life[edit]

Having been born in Aberdeen, Florence lived in Edinburgh between the ages of 7 and 18 on the same street as future world and Olympic cycling champion Chris Hoy.[3] He attended Roseburn Primary School and Stewarts Melville College secondary school.[4] He began canoeing at the age of 14, on the Water of Leith, and was eventually invited to join the Forth Canoe Club, where most of his training was done on the Union Canal.[3] He went to the University of Nottingham and studied mathematical physics,[5] but says his main reason for choosing to move to Nottingham was because it is the home of the National Watersports Centre.[3] His father, George, is a former Scottish canoeing champion and his brother, Fraser also canoes for Scotland. His Uncle Angus Florence also canoed for Scotland.[6]


Florence finished 4th in the 2005 European Championships and 15th in the World Championships the same year. He also won a bronze medal in the World Cup event in Seu. In 2006 he improved to a sixth-place finish in the World Championships, won a bronze in the C-1 team, and took the gold medal at the World Cup in Augsburg. In 2007 he took 5th place at the World Championships and two World Cup medals, bronzes in Prague and Augsburg.[1] In 2009 he started competing in C-2 alongside Richard Hounslow and he won a silver in the C-2 team event at the 2009 world championships in La Seu d'Urgell. He went on to win a bronze in the C-2 event at the 2010 world championships in Tacen and another one in the C-2 team event at the 2011 world championships in Bratislava. At the 2013 world championships in Prague he won 2 golds (C-1 and C-2) and 1 bronze (C-2 team).

In 2009 he won the overall World Cup title in C-1. Florence also has six medals from the European Championships (1 gold, 1 silver and 4 bronzes).

2008 Olympics[edit]

At the 2008 Summer Olympics, in Beijing, Florence competed in the men's slalom C-1, solo whitewater canoeing event. He finished second overall, winning the silver medal behind Slovakian world number one Michal Martikán.[2] He completed his preliminary runs of the course at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park in 89.47 and 82.16 seconds, to lie 3rd overall, with a total time of 171.63 seconds, heading into the semifinal. His semifinal time of, 90.46 seconds, qualifying him for the final in 4th place out of the ten advancing competitors. His final run of 88.15 seconds gave him a total time 178.61 seconds and meant he led with only Martikán left to compete, however the Slovakian went almost 2 seconds faster to push Florence into the silver medal position.[2] After the event Florence said he had been inspired by the sight of Rebecca Adlington winning her 400 metres freestyle gold medal the day before.[7]

2012 Olympics[edit]

Florence qualified for the C-1 event at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London at the British trials. Thanks to the fact that his C-2 partner Richard Hounslow qualified for the K-1 event, they were able to start together in the C-2 event as the second British boat in that category. Florence was a favorite to medal especially in the C-1 event, but he failed to make the final after a semifinal run full of mistakes. He finished down in 10th place[8] which was a disappointment for him as well as the local fans. He and Hounslow (who also had a disappointing run in K-1) made amends in the C-2 event where they were able to win the silver medal behind their compatriots Timothy Baillie and Etienne Stott and ahead of the three-time defending champions Pavol and Peter Hochschorner.[9]

Astronaut application[edit]

Before the 2008 Olympic Games Florence had applied to become an astronaut in the European Space Agency's astronaut training programme in response to an advert he had seen, and was so serious about it that he began learning Russian, a mandatory requirement for the position. However he was not among the four people selected from the 8,400 applicants and received a rejection letter a short time before the start of the Olympics.[7][10] After winning his Olympic medal he said of the application; "It wasn't a whim... It was an opportunity that came along to apply for something incredible. I tried but didn't get in."[11]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Team GB > Beijing 2008 > Athlete profile > David Florence". British Olympic Association. Retrieved 20 September 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c "GB's Florence claims canoe silver". BBC Sport. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c Wilson, Mike (14 September 2008). "Time and place: David Florence". London: The Times. Retrieved 20 September 2008. 
  4. ^ "David Florence – Olympic Canoe Slalom Athlete". davidflorence.com – Official website of Olympic Canoe Slalom Athlete David Florence. 14 September 2008. Retrieved 20 September 2008. 
  5. ^ "A golden summer". Alumni Online (The University of Nottingham). 13 August 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Scots Olympic medal winner David Florence missed out on astronaut dream". Daily Record. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 20 September 2008. 
  7. ^ a b Hart, Simon (12 August 2008). "Beijing: David Florence rockets to silver". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 September 2008. 
  8. ^ "C1 semifinal results from London 2012". Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "Stott and Baillie head GB one-two". Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  10. ^ Bull, Andy (13 August 2008). "Beijing Olympics: Would-be astronaut Florence finds silver lining after missing out on a life above the clouds". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2008. 
  11. ^ Broadbent, Rick (13 August 2008). "David Florence takes Olympic silver in canoeing". London: The Times. Retrieved 20 September 2008.