Michal Martikán (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈmixal ˈmartikaːn]; born 18 May 1979) is a Slovak slalom canoeist who has been competing at the international level since 1994. 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. He has also won the World Championship title in the C1 individual category four times.
At the age of 16, Michal Martikán became the youngest winner of a World Cup slalom canoeing event. 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. 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.
At the European Championships he has won four straight individual golds between 2007 and 2010. Slovakia won the C1 team event 11 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.
World Cup individual podiumsEdit
|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
In November 1997 Martikán was involved in a car accident near the village of Velké Zálužie, Slovakia. 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, 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.
- "Michal MARTIKAN (SVK)". CanoeSlalom.net. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- "FACTBOX-Olympics-Canoeing-Gold medallist Michal Martikan". Reuters. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
- "Michal Martikán". Sports-Reference.com. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
- "Seeing is believing for Slovakia's Martikan" – Reuters. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
- "GB's Florence claims canoe silver". BBC Sport. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
- "Michal Martikán (SVK)". CanoeICF.com. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
- "Olympic winner kills a pedestrian". The Slovak Spectator. 4 December 1997. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
- "Amnesties a relic of feudal powers". The Slovak Spectator. 29 January 2001. Retrieved 17 August 2008.
- Michal Martikán at the International Canoe Federation
- Michal Martikán at Olympics.com
- Michal Martikán at Olympedia
- Michal Martikán at Olympic.sk (in Slovak)
- Official website at the Wayback Machine (archived 17 July 2012)
- 2010 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships 12 September 2010 C1 men's final results. – accessed 12 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine (archived 17 July 2011)
- 2010 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships 12 September 2010 C1 men's team final results – accessed 12 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine (archived 17 July 2011)
- 12 September 2009 final results of the men's C1 team slalom event for the 2009 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships. – accessed 12 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine (archived 20 September 2009)
- 13 September 2009 final results of the men's C1 event at the 2009 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships. – accessed 13 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine (archived 20 September 2009)
- ICF medalists for Olympic and World Championships – Part 2: rest of flatwater (now sprint) and remaining canoeing disciplines: 1936–2007 at WebCite (archived 9 November 2009)