25 April 2024

Olympic silver medallist and multiple world and European champion Vavrinec Hradilek has announced his retirement from the sport. 

The Czech Canoe Slalom star has taken to social media to reveal that he has decided to end his competitive career at the age of 37. 

He retires as a two-time Olympian having participated at Beijing 2008 before claiming men’s K1 silver at London 2012. 

During his career, Hradilek clinched four golds, three silvers and one bronze at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships. 

Hradilek became K1 world champion in 2013 when he triumphed on home water in Prague before capturing the Kayak Cross crown in 2017. 

His other world titles came with victories in the K1 team in 2009 and 2015. 

Hradilek also claimed four European K1 team crowns, with his last coming in 2021, and he won a number of K1 titles on the World Cup circuit. 

In a post on Facebook, Hradilek wrote: “I will not be racing at a high level anymore. 

“There is a lot I would like to write about this and it perhaps deserves more a book than a social media post. 

“I appreciate every message, message and comment that make me happy and strengthen the experience of an easy decision. 

“It will be nice on the weekend and there is an opportunity to high five in Troy at the nomination races. 

“Or a few weeks later on Svě něák also in Prague, where I would like to celebrate with friends from all over the world! 

“Looking forward to some more paddling!” 

Speaking to Czech sports news website iSport, Hradilek revealed that a hand injury dashed his hopes of competing for a place in the national team. 

“I had ambitions to fight in the nomination,” said Hradilek. 

“I felt relatively good. 

“But two weeks ago I started to feel weakness in my left hand, then it started to get worse, my hand didn’t work. 

“The connection with my cervical spine, which has been my weak line since 2010, has been confirmed. 

“The feeling of riding convinced me that I had decided to quit this week. 

“I’m so determined, I want to announce it like this.”

Related links

Canoe Slalom
Kayak Cross