50 worldwide contenders for 2012: Max Hoff

Max Hoff

Canoe sprint

Born: 12/09/82

Career highlights

Originally a whitewater paddler, Hoff has become a major force in canoe sprint events in recent years. He finished fifth behind British winner Tim Brabants at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing but has since earned back-to-back world titles and three successive European gold medals over 1000m.

Other career

He was crowned wildwater canoeing world champion in 2006, but then started training in the 1000m sprint event.

A recent bio-chemist graduate, Hoff insists he would not have been able to maintain a career in canoeing without handouts from his grandmother.