Michal Martikán

Michal Martikán (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈmixal ˈmaɾtikaːn]; born 18 May 1979) is a Slovak slalom canoeist who has been competing at the international level since 1994.[1] In 1996 he became the first athlete to win an Olympic gold medal for Slovakia since the country gained independence in 1993. In total he won 5 Olympic medals (2 golds, 2 silvers and 1 bronze), which is the most among all slalom paddlers.[2] He has also won the World Championship title in the C1 individual category four times. He is considered by many the greatest C1 slalom paddler alive.

Michal Martikán
2019 ICF Canoe slalom World Championships 129 - Michal Martikán.jpg
Martikán in 2019
Personal information
Born (1979-05-18) 18 May 1979 (age 41)
Liptovský Mikuláš, Czechoslovakia
Height1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight72 kg (159 lb)
SportCanoe slalom
ClubKTK Dukla Liptovský Mikuláš


At the age of 16, Michal Martikán became the youngest winner of a World Cup slalom canoeing event.[3] Three months later, at age 17, Martikán was in sixth place after the first run of the canoe slalom singles event at the 1996 Olympics. With nothing to lose, he went all out on the second run and just bettered the score of defending champion Lukáš Pollert of the Czech Republic. Martikán was the first Olympic champion to represent independent Slovakia. He entered the 2000 Olympics as the favourite, having consistently finished near the top in every major competition and in each World Cup series. At the Sydney Games, Martikán registered the best score in the qualifying round, but was only in fifth place after the first run of the final. In the second run, he paddled a perfect course and his time was the fastest of the round. He was able to move up to the silver medal position behind Tony Estanguet of France. Competing in his third Olympics in 2004, Martikán again led the qualifying round. He also earned the highest score in the semi-finals, which also served as the first run of the final. After the second run, it appeared that Martikán had regained the Olympic title, but the referees controversially decided to award him a two-second penalty which pushed him to second place, only 12 hundredths of a second behind Estanguet. Martikán regained the Olympic title at the 2008 games in Beijing.[4] At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London Martikán took bronze. Michal Martikán is the only slalom canoeist to win five Olympic medals, one in each of the five games from 1996 through 2012.

At the World Championships, Martikán had an uninterrupted medal run in the individual C1 event between 1995 and 2010. The 2011 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships saw him finish outside the medals for the first time in an Olympic or World Championship individual race in his career. Ironically, this failure came in front of a home crowd on the Čunovo course near Bratislava. However, he managed to win gold in the team event with his Slovak teammates to prolong his medal run. He won another six gold medals in the C1 team event between 2013 and 2019, making it 17 straight World Championships with a medal.

He won his first medals in 1995 when he was just 16. He took a bronze in the C1 event and another bronze in the C1 team event. In 1997 he won his first individual world title as well as team gold. He won the individual C1 event on three more occasions (2002, 2003 and 2007). As of 2019 he has a total of 23 World Championship medals (15 golds, 3 silvers and 5 bronzes) which is more than any other slalom paddler in any category.

He has also won the overall World Cup title five times (1998, 2000, 2001, 2006, 2014), which is a record among C1 paddlers.

At the European Championships he has won four straight individual golds between 2007 and 2010. Slovakia won the C1 team event 10 times with him in the team. He also has 6 silvers (4 individual and 2 in team event) and 2 bronzes (1 individual and 1 in the team event).

Martikán is coached by his father Jozef.[5]

World Cup individual podiumsEdit

Season Date Venue Position Event
1995 2 July 1995 Tacen 2nd C1
1996 21 April 1996 Ocoee 1st C1
16 June 1996 Augsburg 3rd C1
1997 6 July 1997 Bratislava 1st C1
1998 21 June 1998 Tacen 1st C1
28 June 1998 Augsburg 3rd C1
13 September 1998 La Seu d'Urgell 1st C1
1999 15 August 1999 Bratislava 3rd C1
22 August 1999 Augsburg 1st C1
3 October 1999 Penrith 2nd C1
2000 30 April 2000 Penrith 1st C1
9 July 2000 La Seu d'Urgell 1st C1
30 July 2000 Augsburg 2nd C1
2001 10 June 2001 Tacen 1st C1
29 July 2001 Augsburg 3rd C1
9 September 2001 Wausau 1st C1
2002 21 July 2002 Augsburg 3rd C1
28 July 2002 Tacen 1st C1
2003 11 May 2003 Penrith 3rd C1
6 July 2003 La Seu d'Urgell 1st C1
3 August 2003 Bratislava 2nd C1
2004 23 April 2004 Athens 2nd C1
11 July 2004 Prague 3rd C1
25 July 2004 Bourg St.-Maurice 3rd C1
2005 1 October 2005 Penrith 3rd C11
2006 28 May 2006 Athens 1st C1
4 June 2006 Augsburg 2nd C1
11 June 2006 La Seu d'Urgell 3rd C1
2 July 2006 L'Argentière-la-Bessée 2nd C12
6 August 2006 Prague 2nd C11
2007 30 June 2007 Prague 2nd C1
8 July 2007 Tacen 1st C1
2008 16 March 2008 Penrith 1st C13
2009 5 July 2009 Bratislava 1st C1
2011 9 July 2011 Markkleeberg 1st C1
2013 24 August 2013 Bratislava 1st C1
2014 7 June 2014 Lee Valley 3rd C1
14 June 2014 Tacen 2nd C1
21 June 2014 Prague 1st C1
2 August 2014 La Seu d'Urgell 3rd C1
2015 4 July 2015 Liptovský Mikuláš 1st C1
2017 2 July 2017 Markkleeberg 1st C1
1 World Championship counting for World Cup points
2 European Championship counting for World Cup points
3 Oceania Championship counting for World Cup points


Manslaughter convictionEdit

In November 1997 Martikán was involved in a car accident near the village of Velké Zálužie, Slovakia.[6] The car he was driving hit a pedestrian causing him fatal injuries. The investigation concluded that Martikán was traveling substantially over the 40 km/h speed limit. It was also found that the killed man was highly intoxicated at the time of the accident, in dark outside the inhabited area.

With Martikán facing actual incarceration due to the violation of his probation terms (during his Australia's training camp he should process the license returning, a day after returning home while picking up the letter from the post office about driving license returning, the police surprisingly wait for him outside the building and he got in troubles...), then-president Rudolf Schuster, amid grave criticism, granted Martikán a presidential pardon,[7] which besides sparing him from jail time effectively meant removal of the conviction from his criminal record. Schuster argued that Martikán's positive athletic representation of the country abroad warranted the pardon, while critics pointed to the double standard and the preferential treatment Martikán was receiving as a sport celebrity.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Michal MARTIKAN (SVK)". CanoeSlalom.net. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Michal Martikán". Sports-Reference.com. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Seeing is believing for Slovakia's Martikan"Reuters. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  4. ^ "GB's Florence claims canoe silver". BBC Sport. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Michal Martikán (SVK)". CanoeICF.com. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Olympic winner kills a pedestrian". The Slovak Spectator. 4 December 1997. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
  7. ^ "Amnesties a relic of feudal powers". The Slovak Spectator. 29 January 2001. Retrieved 17 August 2008.

External linksEdit

Olympic Games
Preceded by
Slavomír Kňazovický
Flagbearer for   Slovakia
Athens 2004
Succeeded by
Elena Kaliská