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The Gold Rush: Maori World Champion Canoe Sprinter Lisa Carrington Races Tonight

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World champion canoe sprinter Lisa Carrington, Maori, is a favorite to win the mad dash that is the ultra-short distance race of 200 meters at the London Olympic Games. All Kiwi eyes will be firmly fixed on the 23-year old Friday night, when the New Zealander hits the water for the semifinals, which immediately follow the heats. Indian Country will be watching and rooting for her, too.

Need proof of her skills? Check out this video:

Carrington, of the Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki iwi, was the 2011 Maori Sportswoman of the year, awarded by the Te Tohu Taakaro o Aotearoa Charitable Trust. She went from obscurity to being a household name in the space of only 39.998 seconds in Szeged, Hungary last August when she won the world championships in the K1 200 meter canoeing sprint. Carrington will have to be even faster—if that’s possible—to earn the heavy medal in London.

"If someone else is faster on the day, then so be it, but ultimately I'm looking for Olympic gold," Carrington said recently.

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"All I can concentrate on is my race and I'll be doing everything I can to make it the best of my career. There's definitely pressure going into the Olympics as a world champion, but that's good, it's important.

"That pressure is a way of reminding myself it's all about what I can do on the day and doing everything I can to get the best performance out of myself."

Treat yourself to perhaps the most exciting forty seconds in sports, the 200-meter canoe sprint. Check for local TV listings and more information on Carrington and the canoe events.