RIO 2016


Spain’s Olympic kayak hero only just became ‘Spanish’

Marcus Cooper Walz won Spain’s fifth gold medal of the Rio games on Tuesday in the men’s canoe single K1, 1,000m competition, but he only became officially Spanish a year ago.

Spain's Olympic kayak hero only just became 'Spanish'
Marcus Cooper Walz won a fifth gold for Spain. Photo: AFP

Born in Oxford to a German mother and a British father tall blond and blue-eyed Cooper Walz has been living on the island of Mallorca where his parents run a hotel, since he was three years old.

But it was only last summer, with his Olympic dreams in sight, that the 21-year-old rower finally won Spanish nationality, after competiting for Spain for years.

“The International Olympics Committee doesn’t allow you to represent a country without a passport and the nationalisation process has taken me four or five years,” the newly-crowned Olympic Kayaking champion told sports newspaper AS.

“My heart is Spanish and I'm very proud,” he said, on winning the gold.

Mireia Belmonte-Garcia brought home Spain's first gold of the Rio games with victory in the women's 200m butterfly, while Maialen Chourraut won gold in the kayak slalom and made history as the first Spanish mother to win an olympic medal.

Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopéz won gold for Spain in the tennis doubles.

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WATCH: Spain’s Olympic Bronze figure skater is the superhero we all need

Spanish figure skater Javier Fernandez delighted fans with a super hero routine at the Pyeongchang closing ceremony.

WATCH: Spain’s Olympic Bronze figure skater is the superhero we all need
Javier Fernandez performs in the PyeongChang closing gala. Photos: AFP

The 26-year-old became a national hero when he scooped Bronze in the Men’s Single competition last week, becoming only the fourth ever Winter Olympic medallist for Spain.

READ ALSO: Snowboarder from Ceuta wins Olympic medal for Spain

On Sunday, he performed in the Olympic winners closing exhibition entertaining fans with an aerobics-inspired routine accompanied by pop hits from the Eighties.

The hilarious routine began with the skater posing as an exercise instructor in sweat pants and a hoodie to a soundtrack of him speaking in English as he limbered up with stretches to Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical”.

He then whipped of his sweats to reveal a superhero outfit in the crimson and gold colours of Spain complete with shiny satin cape which billowed behind him as he flew around the rink to a soundtrack of  “Maniac” by Michael Sembello, “Holding Out For A Hero” by Bonnie Tyler, and “I Want To Know What Love Is” by Foreigner.

The athlete has hinted that this is likely to be his last Olympics.

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