In 2021 Elena Lilik announced her arrival on the canoe slalom world stage with an incredible three medals at the ICF world championships in Bratislava.

This week, on the slalom course where she took her first ever strokes as a paddler, 23-year-old Lilik may well achieve something no other paddler in the history of canoe slalom has ever done – win five medals at a single world championships.

On Wednesday Lilik made a strong start in her quest for canoe slalom history, winning medals in the two events which alluded her in Slovakia last year – the women’s K1 and C1 team events.

In a memorable two days of paddling on the challenging Bratislava course Lilik, racing under her maiden name of Apel, won silver in the women’s K1, gold in the K1, and then silver in the women’s extreme slalom.

Of course to repeat that performance this week will take a power of work, incredible stamina, and just maybe a little bit of luck. But the Augsburg Ice Channel holds no mysteries for Germany's Lilik.

“I grew up here, I made my first paddle strokes on the Ice Channel. It’s special that I can show what I have been doing all the years here,” Lilik said.

As for the unique opportunity that now presents itself, Lilik knows how fickle canoe slalom can be, and how even the smallest mistakes can drop a paddler rapidly down the leaderboard.

The best approach, she believes, is to treat the event like all others, and to see what unfolds. But she knows she has done the work.

“I have two already, so we will see,” she said.

“Nobody has mentioned that to me, it would be amazing to achieve this at home, but even if it is not five medals, in the end it is still a special event and it will always be in my memories.

“I gave it all out in the winter, in the training, I’m well prepared. But you know in canoe slalom anything can happen really fast. I just want to enjoy and give it all my best, and we will see what it will be in the end.

So for this week Elena Lilik is more focused on enjoying herself and being part of the 50-year celebrations of slalom’s first appearance at the Olympics, and the first world championships on her home course since 2003 – when she was just four-years-old.

Already she has incredible moments that will live with her forever – a gold and silver medal on day one, in front of an enthusiastic home crowd full of family and friends.

“It’s amazing, they were happy tears at the end and I’m super happy with the results,” she said.

“It’s something special to start with it. I already felt the crowd in the team event. They pushed really hard, so I pushed really hard too.”

Germany Elena Apel C1 Bratislava 2021

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