Tim Baillie, Etienne Stott Canoeing

Hometown: Manchester
Sport: Canoeing
Event: Canoe slalom - C2
Games: London 2012

Etienne Stott MBE is a slalom canoer specialising in the C2 event from Manchester. He learnt to paddle on the River Great Ouse while in the Scouts and has been competing since the early 2000s. He also has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Nottingham and is studying for a Masters. In 2011 he spent six months recovering from surgery after dislocating his shoulder and has since injured his other shoulder. He's hoping to make a quick recovery before the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio!

Etienne and his teammate Tim Baillie both won bronze medals in the C2 team event at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in 2009 and 2011. They also won a bronze medal in the C2 event at the 2009 European Championships at the Holme Pierrepont National Watersports Centre in Nottingham. They are the British Premier Division Champions and British Open Champions.

Etienne's greatest success was arguably at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games held in London. Despite recording the slowest qualifying time in the semi-final of the slalom C2 event, Etienne and his partner Tim went on to win the event with an unbeaten time of 106.41 seconds in the final.

The following questions were prepared by St. Fillan's Primary RC School in Glasgow.

What is it like being famous?

I don't consider myself to be famous, perhaps just well known. I really like meeting people and talking with them. The buzz around the London Games is still so big that people are always happy to see me and that makes me happy!

Do you have a special diet to keep you fit and healthy for the competitions and big sporting events?

I don't have a very special diet, I make sure that I give my body what it needs by eating plenty of fresh, healthy food. Carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water all have to be given to the body of it to recover from training and be able to perform well in competitions. I like crisps and biscuits, but if I eat too much of this sort of food, it means I am full when I need to eat proper food, so I don't eat too much of this sort of thing.

Being a canoeist, do your muscles get sore?

Your muscles don't really get sore from canoeing, but they sometimes get sore from the gym training that I do.

When did you start canoeing and how long does it take to be good at the sport?

I started canoeing when I was 12 with the Scouts, then I started in my local club doing competitions when I was 13 or 14. Getting good takes a long time, many years. In my case, I had been training for 20 years when I went to my first Olympics and won the gold medal with my crewmate Tim.

How much training do you need to do?

Normally, I train twice a day, 6 days a week (one day of rest each week) all year round, with maybe a 2 or 3 week holiday at the end of the season.

What age were you when you started and how long have you been doing your sport?

I was 12 years old when I started, and I am 34 years old now, so I have been doing my sports for aaaaaaaaaaages!

What inspired you to become an athlete?

I was inspired to improve myself and I really enjoyed being a part of the canoeing community (there are lots of cool people that do canoeing). I wanted to become a champion and get really good, but I also just wanted to enjoy my sport, because it is really, really good fun.

What was your favourite sport when you were younger?

I liked hockey, but I was never really loved sports when I was younger, I wasn't very athletic.

Do you ever get sea-sick?

Nope!

What did it feel like when you won gold at the London Olympics 2012?

I felt stunned, we couldn't believe that all the years of hard work and all the ups and downs we'd been through had led us to standing on the top step at our home Olympics. We just couldn't believe it!

When did you win your first gold medal?

I won my first Olympic Gold medal in 2012, but I won my first canoe race in 1992 or 1993 (I can't quite remember!)

How long have you known Tim Baillie and was he a friend at school?

I have known Tim since I was 15, when we were in the GB Junior Team together. He is from Aberdeen and I grew up in Bedford, so we couldn't go to the same school. But we became best friends when we went to university in Nottingham at the same time and studied the same degree.

How many challenges have you and Tim Baillee competed in?

We have been a crew since 2004, so we have raced in 6 World Championships and 7 European Championships together. We have done many more races around the UK and the world together, almost too many to remember.

Where is the weirdest place you have been recognised?

Asda! Not weird at all, but I don't get recognised that often!

Have you ever missed a race because of an illness?

I have not missed many races because of illness, but sadly, I have missed many races because of injury. For example, I missed this year's World Championships because I dislocated my shoulder and needed surgery to fix it.

How many races have you won?

I have won lots of races at different levels of competition, but I have only won the Olympics once.

How old were you when you became an athlete?

I was about 13 or 14 wen I became more serious about my canoeing, but I started training more and more seriously between the ages of 15 and 18, so that by the time I was 18 I was training as much as possible!

How many cups and medals have you won?

I have won quite a few, but I have only won the Olympics once. My mum has packed some of my trophies and medals away that are very old, as we don't have enough place for them! But you do win quite a few medals and trophies even if you never make it to international level.

What emotions do you have when you train very hard and end up loosing a race?

Nobody likes to lose a race or do worse than they hoped - that is natural. But I try to view each race as an opportunity to behave and race in a decent way and I also aim to learn everything I can from each event. That way, I can feel happy if I have conducted myself well and learned something that will help me to improve my performance next time.

Who inspired you to take up your sport?

I was inspired by my Scout leaders and also when I got a bit older I met some of Britain's top canoeists. I realised that they weren't that different from me, they looked the same as normal people, but I realised that they had made different choices than most people (for example, they chose to work hard, not give up and not do things that are bad for their health like drinking, smoking and taking drugs). It was those choices that I think got them there and I found that I was inspired to make the same choices in pursuit of becoming the best.

Do you like and do any other sports apart from canoeing?

I like other sports like mountain biking and tennis, but I am too busy training for canoeing to have much time to do other sports. When I retire from training, I am going to do more canoeing river trips and do more mountain biking and maybe sailing.

What's the longest water range you have ever covered?

That's a hard question. My sport is a short distance sport, so I don't do long rivers. The longest I have canoed continuously for is about 2 hours and that was plenty for me!

If you could make up your own sport, what would it be and what would it be called?

I would call it street canoeing and it would be where you had a canoe with wheels and you used your paddle to get some speed up and then you could zip along, maybe doing some tricks on the way!

Are you excited or nervous before a race?

I try to be neither just before I race, I aim to be focused on what I am about to do. I am always a bit nervous in the days before, that is natural, but I don't worry about that, I just put all I can into making the plan that I made happen.

Where you sporty when you were at primary school?

I liked mucking around with my friends, but I was never very sporty. That is one of my key messages - you don't have to be a natural at anything, because your desire and ability to work hard are far more important than what people call 'natural talent' if you are going to be a champion.

How did you and Tim celebrate in 2012?

We had a big party with our friends, family and teammates at our hotel. It was a verrrrrrrrry big party!