Kayak paddlers of Belarus compete in the Kayak four 1000m men final of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Canoe/Kayak Flatwater event in Beijing, China, Aug. 22, 2008. The team of Belarus clinched the gold medal in this event with a time of 2:55.714.
Belarus claimed the Olympic gold medal in the men's kayak four 1,000 meters in the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park on Friday.
The team finished in two minutes, 55.714 seconds, 0.879 seconds ahead of Athens bronze medalists Slovakia. Germany, silver medalists in Athens, took bronze in 2:56.593.
It was Belarus' second gold on the first day of the canoeing flatwater finals, a dozen minutes after their compatriots came from behind to win the men's canoe double 1,000 meters race.
The Belarus crew were in second place by the 500 meters, but they came through in the third 250 meters and maintain the lead to the finish line.
"Today was a pleasant surprise for all four of us," Belarus' Raman Piatrushenka said.
"We've been away from home for a long time and we even turned our mobile phones off. We wouldn't say the gods or stars were smiling on us, we just did our best to get the medal.
"I feel very bad and very tired. We did the 1,000m very fast and did everything we could," Slovakia's Richard Riszdorfer said. "Most of the time we were leading, but we couldn't see how far Belarus were from us."
Hungary, who won the gold medals in Sydney and Athens, missed out on a medal with a fifth finish. China, silver medalists in a pre-Games World Cup race, came in seventh place.
Kayak paddlers of Belarus celebrate after winning the Kayak four 1000m men final of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Canoe/Kayak Flatwater event in Beijing, China, Aug. 22, 2008. The team of Belarus clinched the gold medal in this event with a time of 2:55.714.