One wonders what it would take for Slovenian Nejc Znidarcic to actually be beaten in men’s wildwater kayak sprint races these days.

The 38-year-old has dominated the sport now for five years, winning titles with broken ribs, infections and burning fevers. On Saturday he won his fourth consecutive kayak title after barely being able to train for two weeks.

“Yesterday I was a little bit worried because I hadn’t felt well for the past two weeks, I couldn’t train because of an infection and a high fever,” he said on Saturday.

“Even when I came here I was quite weak, but each day I was getting better.”

In short, Znidarcic is the undisputed king of this form of wildwater paddling. Without doubt he is the GOAT – Greatest Of All Time. But to be the GOAT for all of wildwater, he needs one more individual world title.

On Saturday he won his sixth men’s kayak wildwater sprint crown. The next best in kayak is four.

But in men’s canoe there are two paddlers who share Znidarcic’s incredible feat of being six-times a world champion. Italian Vladi Panato won every title between 1993 and 2002, and then Croatian Emil Milihram won every crown between 2004 and 2016.

Znidarcic is 38. He has no intention of stopping any time soon. While the flame still burns, and judging by his reaction when he crossed the finish line on Saturday it clearly still is, he will keep bouncing his way down rivers and slalom courses chasing world titles.

Funnily enough, while he says he still has the passion for racing, on the subject of whether he actually enjoys it – well, that’s another matter.

“I always say you never get tired of winning, and winning gold for sure,” he said.

“I really don’t like racing, because its stressful. You’re tired all the time, it’s not good. But when you cross the finish line, and see that green sign, then it pays off.

“I want to finish on the top. Once I’m not competing for the podium, I think I will stop. But I still feel the drive in me to be successful.”

Working in Znidarcic’s favour is that he genuinely believes his workplace is the coolest workplace on the planet. And few could argue with his logic.

“As a sportsman I have one of the nicest jobs in the world. We travel the world, we’re outside, taking care of our bodies, so while I’m still on the top I think I will continue,” he said.

Znidarcic was once asked if he was disappointed his sport was not in the Olympics. Why should he be, he answered.

“I want to do things that are fun. And if you are best at it, then I really see no problem,” he said.

He has six individual gold medals which suggests there is no problem. The question is, when will he get number seven?

Wildwater Canoeing
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