HE’S Victoria’s own Olympic hard man, our great hope for white water gold. He has rugged looks and steely determination. However, when it comes to the winning edge, slalom canoeist Warwick Draper shows a softer side.
He credits Pilates for keeping him at his peak and says everything simply slows down when he finds himself barrelling down a raging torrent of water.”It’s moving meditation, if you get it right,” he said.”Part of what keeps me in the sport is chasing down the runs where you are absolutely on song, focused and everything is in slow motion. That’s the best feeling you can have, when you get your best performance.
“Draper, 35, flies out today to begin preparations for his third Olympic Games.This time he plans to bring back a medal.He was fifth in the K1 final in Beijing and said that result only cemented his resolve to continue with the sport he discovered while at high school.”The result was disappointing but I wouldn’t say it devastated me, more that it motivated me,” he said.”A lot of the time athletes don’t get the results they want. But you have to aim for what’s possible. You have to aim for gold. And I certainly will be doing that in London.”If I come away with a good performance and it’s not a gold medal, then I will be happy with that.
“The Victorian Institute of Sport athlete has a gruelling training regimen that includes being in the gym three times a week and on the water sometimes twice a day.After he contracted glandular fever in 2009, Pilates proved a secret weapon.”It’s a big part of my training and one of the reasons I’ve been able to do it for so long. I think it is something that has improved me incredibly.”Draper said he was confident of making his mark against fierce competition, mostly from Europe.”I seem to be at my best in the Olympic years so hopefully it will all come together in London.”