Etienne Stott: Olympic champion canoeist returns from injury

By Mark ShardlowBBC East Midlands Today
Stott thrilled to get back on water

Olympic gold medallist Etienne Stott has targeted the Rio Olympics in 2016 after returning to the water for the first time in six months.

Stott and Tim Baillie became Britain's first canoe slalom Olympic champions by winning the C2 event at London 2012.

But a shoulder injury sustained in July means Stott has only just resumed training and may not race this year.

"It's about doing whatever has to be done to get to Rio in 2016," Stott, 34, told BBC East Midlands Today.

"That's what the game is. I would love to be at the World Championships this year [in September] but you have to take a long-term view.

"It is a bit too early to talk about the season. It will be a few more weeks before I know how close I am to being able to race this year."

Stott suffered his second shoulder dislocation in two years when he was hurt at a World Cup race in Spain last year.

But he returned to canoeing this week, firstly on a simulator in the gym at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham, and then on flat water at the same venue.

But Nottingham-based Stott is no stranger to injury. In the run up to London 2012 he dislocated his right shoulder on a training run on the Olympic course.

However this injury is more severe and the outcome less certain.

He has been receiving regular treatment in the gym at the National Water Sports Centre from GB Canoeing physiotherapist Gemma Telford.

"Etienne has been brilliant. His motivation is very good. He asks lots of questions and likes to fully understand the recovery process." said Telford.

Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott compete in Cardiff

"We're aware of what he did at London 2012 and what he can do in the future. And we're on target at getting him back on the water. It's early stages, but so far so good."

Stott's surgery has left him with three barely noticeable scars on each shoulder but, more crucially, it has restricted his movement for several months which has left him unable to paddle.

The daily grind of exercise is slowly paying off and 2014 has begun with him back in a canoe.

"It's not been painful, just stiff and sore and not working properly," Stott said. "The hardest part has been missing events and being around my team-mates. I love my sport. And I'm looking forward to being back."