Event: K1 Slalom (Kayak)
Who is he? The 32-year-old from Kildare is competing in his third Olympic slalom. He finished 21st out of 25 in 2004 but scaled greater heights in Beijing four years later. Rheinisch, from the Salmon Leap Canoe Club in Leixlip, was in the form of his life in China as he kayaked magnificently in the semi-final and final. He was held up slightly in the final third of his last run and lost crucial seconds that cost him the bronze medal.
He recalled, “After the run was over I just waited with Digger (Team Manager Deaglain O Drisceoill) in the boat control area and watched as paddler after paddler came down and slotted in after me, it was amazing to watch my result get better and better.
When I was sitting in first place with only four to go I thought, ‘This could happen here, I could get a medal out of this’, but all the rest went faster and they deserved their medals more than me.”
Road to London: Rheinisch delivered a time of 98:38 seconds at the semi-finals of the European Championships in Augsburg earlier this year. His round was faultless and he was delighted to have bounced back so well after a bad 2011 when he fared badly at the World Championships and slowly recovered from shoulder surgery.
Medal chances? Rheinisch has been in good form since coming back from shoulder surgery and has been in and about the top ten in many top-class events this season. It may be asking too much of the Kildare man to go one better than his performance in Beijing. However, he will hope that the Olympics can bring out the very best of his competitive spirit.
If you meet him at a bar, ask him… about Tippanyaki Restaurant in Rathmines, which he recommends very highly. ‘Very talented chefs that sing and play guitar’, he tweeted in May.
On the Twitter: You can find the canoeist @eoinrheinischpr and send him some encouraging tweets as he looks to surpass the achievements of 2008.
If he were a YouTube video he would be? You’ve got to be pretty crazy to dash off down white-water tracks at break-neck speeds so Rheinisch would have certainly appreciated the thrills and spills of Kayak Extreme (on the Windows 98 PC). It definitely beats Canoe Slalom for the iPhone.
YouTube credit: Sportsarchive777