David Florence (born 8 August 1982) is a British slalom canoeist who has competed at the international level since 1999.[2][3] He is the 2013 and 2015 world champion in individual single canoe (C1) and 2013 champion in double canoe (C2), the latter with Richard Hounslow. Florence was the first canoeist since Charles Dussuet, sixty years earlier, to achieve the C1, C2 double at the same World Championships.

David Florence
2019 ICF Canoe slalom World Championships 067 - David Florence.jpg
Florence at the 2019 Canoe slalom World Championships
Personal information
Born (1982-08-08) 8 August 1982 (age 37)
Aberdeen, Scotland
Height1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)[1][2]
Weight78 kg (172 lb)[2]
CountryGreat Britain
SportCanoe slalom
Event(s)C1, C2

Florence won silver medals at three consecutive Olympics: in the C1 in 2008 and in the C2 in 2012 and 2016 (with Richard Hounslow).[1]

Early lifeEdit

Having been born in Aberdeen, Florence lived in Edinburgh between the ages of 7 and 18 on the same street as future world and Olympic cycling champion Chris Hoy.[4] He attended Roseburn Primary School and Stewarts Melville College secondary school.[5] He began canoeing at the age of 14, on the Water of Leith, and was eventually invited to join the Forth Canoe Club, where most of his training was done on the Union Canal.[4] He went to the University of Nottingham and studied mathematical physics,[6] but says his main reason for choosing to move to Nottingham was because it is the home of the National Watersports Centre.[4] His father, George, is a former Scottish canoeing champion and his brother, Fraser also canoes for Scotland. His Uncle Angus Florence also canoed for Scotland.[7]


Florence finished 4th in the 2005 European Championships and 15th in the World Championships the same year. He also won a bronze medal in the World Cup event in Seu. In 2006 he improved to a sixth-place finish in the World Championships, won a bronze in the C1 team, and took the gold medal at the World Cup in Augsburg. In 2007 he took 5th place at the World Championships and two World Cup medals, bronzes in Prague and Augsburg.[2] In 2009 he started competing in C2 alongside Richard Hounslow and he won a bronze in the C2 team event at the 2009 World Championships in La Seu d'Urgell. He went on to win a bronze in the C2 event at the 2010 World Championships in Tacen and another one in the C2 team event at the 2011 World Championships in Bratislava. At the 2013 World Championships in Prague he won 2 golds (C1 and C2) and 1 bronze (C2 team). He won a silver medal in the C1 team event at the 2017 world championships in Pau.

He won a total of eleven medals at the World Championships with three golds, one silver and seven bronzes. In 2009 he won the overall World Cup title in C1. Florence also has seven medals from the European Championships (1 gold, 1 silver and 5 bronzes).

2008 OlympicsEdit

At the 2008 Summer Olympics, in Beijing, Florence competed in the C1 event. He finished second overall, winning the silver medal behind Slovak world number one Michal Martikán.[8] He completed his preliminary runs of the course at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park in 89.47 and 82.16 seconds, to lie 3rd overall, with a total time of 171.63 seconds, heading into the semifinal. His semifinal time of 90.46 seconds, qualifying him for the final in 4th place out of the ten advancing competitors. His final run of 88.15 seconds gave him a total time 178.61 seconds and meant he led with only Martikán left to compete, however the Slovakian went almost 2 seconds faster to push Florence into the silver medal position.[8] After the event Florence said he had been inspired by the sight of Rebecca Adlington winning her 400 metres freestyle gold medal the day before.[9]

2012 OlympicsEdit

Florence qualified for the C1 event at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London at the British trials. Thanks to the fact that his C2 partner Richard Hounslow qualified for the K1 event, they were able to start together in the C2 event as the second British boat in that category. Florence was a favourite to medal especially in the C1 event, but he failed to make the final after a semifinal run full of mistakes. He finished down in 10th place[10] which was a disappointment for him as well as the local fans. He and Hounslow (who also had a disappointing run in K1) made amends in the C2 event where they were able to win the silver medal behind their compatriots Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott and ahead of the three-time defending champions Pavol and Peter Hochschorner.[11]

World Cup individual podiumsEdit

Season Date Venue Position Event
2005 24 July 2005 La Seu d'Urgell 3rd C1
2006 4 June 2006 Augsburg 1st C1
2007 18 March 2007 Foz do Iguaçu 3rd C11
30 June 2007 Prague 3rd C1
15 July 2007 Augsburg 3rd C1
2008 21 June 2008 Prague 3rd C1
2009 1 February 2009 Mangahao 1st C12
28 June 2009 Pau 3rd C1
28 June 2009 Pau 3rd C2
2011 25 June 2011 Tacen 1st C1
13 August 2011 Prague 3rd C1
14 August 2011 Prague 3rd C2
2012 9 June 2012 Cardiff 1st C1
10 June 2012 Cardiff 1st C2
23 June 2012 La Seu d'Urgell 2nd C1
2013 23 June 2013 Cardiff 2nd C2
24 August 2013 Bratislava 2nd C1
2014 7 June 2014 Lee Valley 1st C1
21 June 2014 Prague 2nd C1
16 August 2014 Augsburg 2nd C1
17 August 2014 Augsburg 3rd C2
2015 20 June 2015 Prague 3rd C1
27 June 2015 Kraków 2nd C1
9 August 2015 La Seu d'Urgell 3rd C2
2018 30 June 2018 Kraków 1st C1
1 Pan American Championship counting for World Cup points
2 Oceania Championship counting for World Cup points

Astronaut applicationEdit

Before the 2008 Olympics Florence had applied to become an astronaut in the European Space Agency's astronaut training programme in response to an advert he had seen, and was so serious about it that he began learning Russian, a mandatory requirement for the position. However he was not among the four people selected from the 8,400 applicants and received a rejection letter a short time before the start of the Olympics.[9][12] After winning his Olympic medal he said of the application; "It wasn't a whim... It was an opportunity that came along to apply for something incredible. I tried but didn't get in."[13]

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "David Florence". Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Team GB > Beijing 2008 > Athlete profile > David Florence". British Olympic Association. Retrieved 20 September 2008.
  3. ^ "David FLORENCE (GBR)". CanoeSlalom.net. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Wilson, Mike (14 September 2008). "Time and place: David Florence". The Times. London. Retrieved 20 September 2008.
  5. ^ "David Florence – Olympic Canoe Slalom Athlete". davidflorence.com – Official website of Olympic Canoe Slalom Athlete David Florence. 14 September 2008. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2008.
  6. ^ "A golden summer". Alumni Online. The University of Nottingham. 13 August 2012. Archived from the original on 13 February 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  7. ^ "Scots Olympic medal winner David Florence missed out on astronaut dream". Daily Record. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 20 September 2008.
  8. ^ a b "GB's Florence claims canoe silver". BBC Sport. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
  9. ^ a b Hart, Simon (12 August 2008). "Beijing: David Florence rockets to silver". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 20 September 2008.
  10. ^ "C1 semifinal results from London 2012". Retrieved 7 September 2012.
  11. ^ "Stott and Baillie head GB one-two". Retrieved 7 September 2012.
  12. ^ Bull, Andy (13 August 2008). "Beijing Olympics: Would-be astronaut Florence finds silver lining after missing out on a life above the clouds". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 September 2008.
  13. ^ Broadbent, Rick (13 August 2008). "David Florence takes Olympic silver in canoeing". The Times. London. Retrieved 20 September 2008.

External linksEdit