Slovakian brothers take pairs canoe gold


ATHENS, Greece -- Americans Joe Jacobi and Matt Taylor fell out of medal contention Friday with an eighth-place in their
semifinal run in pairs canoe.

The pair struggled to get up to speed and struck a gate for a 2-second penalty, leaving them about 4 seconds behind Germans
Christian Bahmamnn and Michael Senft, the sixth and final team to advance to the final run.

Brothers Pavel and Peter Hochshorner, the defending gold medalists from Sydney, demolished the rest of the field, finishing 4.5 seconds ahead of the second-place Frenchmen Philippe Quemerais and Yann Le Pennec.

Also on Friday, Frenchman Benoit Peschier, who entered the
Olympics ranked 12th in the world in single kayak slalom, put
together a pair of clean, fast runs Friday to win the gold medal.

Peschier was second behind Britain's Campbell Walsh by .25
seconds after the semifinal run, then beat Walsh by 2.46 on the
final run through the whitewater course. Walsh had a clean run but
got hung up in several spots.

Defending world champion Fabien Lefevre of France took bronze,
3.03 seconds behind Pecheir on combined time.

Foaming whitewater falsely tripped the start timer before Walsh
had actually crossed the starting line, causing the scoreboard to
initially show he finished out of the medals -- to the
disappointment of a sizable, flag-waving British crowd. But Walsh
ended up on the podium after all.

Scott Parsons was the only American to make the 10-boat finals
after a ninth-best time in the semifinals. He finished sixth.

"I paddled hard and never really found my groove,'' he said.
"I got a lot of experience and now I know what the Olympics feels
like. Hopefully, four years from now, I'll be at the top and
favored coming in.''

Earlier, U.S. captain Brett Heyl, who had looked the best of the
Americans in the preliminary with a fifth-fastest time, fell out of
contention with a 15th place in his semifinal run.

Switzerland's Michael Kurt, who had the best combined
preliminary time, hit two gates for four seconds in penalties and
fell all the way to last out of the 20 semifinalists.

The Hochshorner brothers from Slovakia moved smoothly through the whitewater
course, showing the form that helped them win the gold medal at the
Sydney Olympics. They celebrated in unison as they crossed the
finish line, simultaneously pumping their right fists in the air.

Their final time was 207.16, beating Marcus Becker and Stefan
Henze of Germany by 3.82 seconds.

The Hochschorners were way ahead with five gates to go,
prompting fans in the amphitheater-style grandstand to cheer
loudly. The pair then made a rare mistake, touching the
third-to-last gate for a 2-second penalty that cut into their lead.

Jaroslav Volf and Ondrej Stepanek of the Czech Republic took
bronze, just less than 2 seconds behind the Germans.

Frenchmen Philippe Quemerais and Yann Le Pennec were second
after the semifinals, but slipped to fifth after touching two gates
for a combined 4 seconds in penalties.