posted on Aug, 18 2004 @ 02:32 PM
Helen Reeves celebrated a "really awesome" achievement after claiming a canoeing bronze to take Britain's Olympic medals tally to three. The
23-year-old, based in Nottingham, thought she had missed out in fourth place when the provisional results of the K1 kayak class were published.
But a two-second penalty for the French competitor who had finished in the bronze medal position meant that Reeves was promoted to third. Peggy
Dickens of France was the unlucky canoeist, punished retrospectively for a fault on her second run, and she swapped places with Reeves. Before heading
off to the medal ceremony, a jubilant Reeves said: "It's pretty fantastic.
"I've been having mixed emotions because I thought I was fourth and then got promoted to third."
The 23-year-old was watched by her parents, John and Mary, brother Andrew and sister Jo as she received her medal.
She added: "It's really awesome. I've just seen my family and loads of friends, familiar faces I didn't even realise were here."
Reeves posted a combined score of 218.77 seconds for her semi-final and final - based on her aggregate time plus penalty seconds - to pip penalised
Dickens by the narrow margin of 0.03secs.
Slovakian Elena Kaliska won the gold medal with 210.03secs, and American Rebecca Giddens took second place on 214.62secs. Reeves took up the sport at
the age of 10 on Basingstoke canal and won gold at the World Junior Championships aged 15 in 1996. Her progress was badly hampered by a number of
shoulder injuries which required surgery and briefly made her contemplate quitting the sport.
She finished ninth in the senior World Championships in 2002 and 15th the following year, but made a major breakthrough with gold in the World Cup
event at La Seu d'Urgell in Spain earlier this year, which also sealed her Olympic place.