David Cal: “Behind an Olympic medal there is a lot of error”

“I am convinced that Craviotto will surpass my five medals in Paris, I have no doubt,” said the former Galician climber.


The former Spanish athlete David Cal, winner of five medals in the Olympic Games, one gold and four silver, stated that behind a ‘metal’ there is “a lot of effort” and “a lot of error”, and expressed his belief that Saúl Craviotto will become in Paris in the most successful national sport with its sixth Olympic podium.

“The day-to-day life of an elite athlete is hard because the part you see is when he gets the medal, but behind it there are many hours of work, a lot of effort, a lot of failure and a lot of error, and, sometimes, there they attack doubts about whether you are going to arrive in shape or be up to the task,” he said in an interview with Europa Press.

These doubts are what wear down the mind of the athlete who hovers at the top, and, according to David Cal, who has acted as godfather of the COE and Santander initiative to make flags with recycled material that will travel to the next Games, only the who know how to work with “pressure”.

The hopes of Cal, who for years has been working at the UCAM as a link between the athletes and the Spanish Olympic scholarships, involve Spanish canoeing winning “four or five” medals in the waters next to the Nautical Stadium of Vaires sur Marne.

“I think there are four or five real options. There are some modalities that have more, but between calm waters and white waters, I think we could reach that number. Assuming that someone always fails, but we have a very good team, with the K4 of Saúl and company, Antía Jácome and María Corbera in C1, and the two in C2, the C2 for the boys, the K4 for the girls with Teresa Portela, Maialen Chourraut in whitewater, the K2 in 500 meters. ..”, he reviewed.

He described the Spanish team in Paris 2024 as “very complete” and was modest in acknowledging his influence on the achievements of this batch of canoe talents.

“I don’t know if I created all this, but I do know that, perhaps, it served as an impetus for other athletes. Canoeing had gone from Los Angeles ’84 to Athens for 20 years without winning an Olympic medal and it seemed like there was a curse,” stressed that of Cangas do Morrazo.

The national paddlers won medals in world and European championships, but the Olympic Games arrived and those results did not translate into metals. “We always failed. I got the two in Athens and then great athletes like Saúl and ‘Perucho’ began to come in the K2 in Beijing 2008; in the following Games Maialen also joined and others who are very good began to come,” he said. .


Until August, David Cal has the honor of being, along with Craviotto, the Spaniard with the most medals, five, in a Games. That’s what he thinks, sure of the potential of the Ilerda paddler. “I hope he achieves it and I am convinced that he will do so with the K4. He has been training for a long time, he knows how things have to be done and I have no doubt that he is going to achieve it, so I am going to have to congratulate Saul,” he said.

Cal sees the current generations as safer than his own. “I am convinced that they think they are going to fight for a medal. They are not going to say it publicly because it puts extra pressure on themselves that they do not need, but I think there is a very big job behind the coaches. In my time it was seen as with suspicion about the Games because they went and failed. But now I think they are convinced that they have options and they are going to fight for everything,” he compared.

And regarding the forecast of surpassing the 22 medals of Barcelona’92, the Spanish Olympic record holder did not fuel doubts either. “I see President Blanco convinced that they are going to get 22 medals in Paris and seeing him so convinced, my prediction is the same as him. From there on up, I don’t think the bar will be lowered,” he predicted, clinging to a reddish flag. that will wave in the Olympic capital this summer with each national success.