Marcus Cooper: “Flag bearer in Paris? It's difficult to express in the words of the RAE”

“Success is reaching 'D' day and being your best version,” said the paddler, who predicted 5 medals for Spanish canoeing at the Games.


The paddler Marcus Cooper Walz, Olympic champion and runner-up in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, admitted that “it is difficult to express” what he would feel if he were the flag bearer of the Spanish Olympic Team at the opening ceremony of the Paris Games, which will take place on July 26, and predicted 23 medals for the national delegation, five of them in canoeing.

“Sometimes I let my imagination run wild and see myself carrying the flag, but I am equally excited and humble in this regard, and until it is officially confirmed I will not claim victory. For me it would mean, well, it's hard to put into words that we have in the RAE. 'Wow', I would lack words for it,” the ambassador of Iberia's 'Talent on board' program said in an interview with Europa Press in Paris.

Time has passed “flying” for Marcus Cooper since that historic silver in the K-4 500 meters – also composed of Saúl Craviotto, Carlos Arévalo and Rodrigo Germade – in Tokyo 2020, and even more so from the Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro when he was a unknown young man, promoted by Telefónica's 'Podium' scholarship.

“It seems like it was yesterday when we landed from Tokyo, but from day one I was already competing. For me, the first training session of the year already counts the same as the last and I am thinking only about Paris all the time,” he revealed on the tenth floor of a hotel close to the Eiffel Tower and his dream of a third medal in the Games.

Despite those two Olympic medals, Cooper Walz believes that the only thing he has changed is his confidence, in knowing that work leads to reward. “The lesson I have learned is that it is worth the effort. Because I know that the results do come later. I have that experience that I know my virtues, my defects, what I am worth and how to train,” he explained.

In his opinion, the medals are “something symbolic”, although they represent everything he has fought to obtain. “I don't really like to measure success in medals, in a tangible reward, but the real success is in reaching that test on 'D' day and being the best version of yourself. If you have an Olympic medal it means that you have achieved be your best version no matter what,” he said.


Spanish canoeing won 13 medals in the last World Cup in Duisburg (Germany), and will be one of the star sports in the national delegation that travels to Paris next summer. “I like to brag that canoeing is being the 'king sport' in terms of the number of Olympic medals in these last two Games. We are sailing at a historical level in Spain and we may end up being the best sport in Paris,” he hoped. .

In this sense, the paddler of British origin assumes that “pressure” as something “positive.” “In my group we take it very well. We are the first to put pressure on ourselves. Because we know that we are worth that and that we can achieve it. It is clear that in canoeing we are doing things well. We are going to go with a very powerful to Paris, perhaps the most powerful with which he has gone to the Games. I would bet on 5 medals in canoeing, which is a lot,” he predicted.

On an individual level, the double Olympic medalist also understands that the focus is on his role in Paris. “I do feel a lot of pressure. It is already expected that my team and I are going to come back with at least a medal. But I accept it and I really like that pressure. I myself am the first to put pressure on myself and the first to proudly say that “He has the most ambitious goal of his life: to return with two successes. It is a challenge to manage that pressure, those nerves and those sensations that are intrinsic to the elite athlete,” he argued.

Aside from the results in the Vaires sur Marne canoeing canal, Spain, according to him, will break the historic 'glass ceiling' of the Barcelona '92 Games and its 22 medals. “Spain is going to return with 23 medals, exactly, from Paris. Of those 23 medals, 5 are going to be from canoeing,” insisted, convinced, the 'flagbearer' of national hopes and metals in Paris 2024.