The dream combination of Ken Wallace and Lachlan Tame have won bronze for Australia in the K2 1000 at the Rio Olympics, an incredible achievement considering they only came together as a crew less than three years ago.
Veteran Wallace and debutant Tame paced themselves early, allowing Germany to steal an early lead and sitting in third for most of the race.
They briefly slipped to fourth with 250 metres to go, but powered home to push out Portugal for the bronze, with Germany and Serbia taking gold and silver.
“The Germans were always going to be the ones to beat here,” Wallace said.
“There were seven other crews in there, but we knew they were going to be tough. Just to be next to them, and going head-to-head with them, it was tough.
“They simply raced better than us today. We gave it everything that we had, it was a tough race, but we’re stoked just to get on that podium and share it with family and friends to be honest.”
Tame, in his first Olympics, has the added bonus of collecting on a $1000 bet he had with a friend that he would one day become an Olympian, although there is some debate about whether the bet was for the London Games.
“To get in a final, and put in a race that’s worthy of a medal, I guess that’s what you plan to do,” Tame said.
“You want to be in the final, for one, and then to get a chance to win a medal, I think that’s all you can do.
“I’m so glad he made the bet, because I was dumb enough to try. It’s been such a whirlwind journey for me.”
The bronze gives 33-year-old Wallace a third medal from three Olympic appearances, adding to the gold and the bronze he won at the 2008 Beijing Games.
And he’s now talking about a possible fourth Olympics.
“I’d like to think so, I really would,” he said.
“For me personally I’ve had the most successful last three years of my career, so to call it quits now I feel like I’d be cheating myself.
“But at the end of the day, what we do is so selfish, it really is. It’s so much time away from family and friends. I’d like to say that I’d be there in Tokyo, but I want to have fun and watch my kids growing up.”
Since 2012 Wallace has married and now has two little boys, and they were all on hand to see him compete in Rio.
It gave the Gold Coast surf lifesaver the added incentive as he and Tame powered down the picturesque Rio course.
“I know they are there with me, they are going to love me win, lose or draw,” he said.
“I’m just stoked that they can give me a helping hand down the course.
“That’s what I was thinking about, just the boys and how lucky I am that they can share this journey with me. We’re in South America, and the boys are here with me – I mean, c’mon!”
For Tame his 2016 Olympic experience is over, while Wallace will team with Riley Fitzsimmons, Jordan Wood and Jake Clear to defend the K4 1000 gold medal Australia won at the London Olympics.