Joseph Clarke MBE (born 3 November 1992) is a British slalom canoeist who has competed since 2009 in individual and team K-1 events. He is the 2016 Olympic champion in the men's slalom K-1, and has won medals in team events at World and European Championships.
Joe Clarke (canoeist) Wikipedia
Clarke was born in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. He first tried canoeing during a trip with The Scout Association at the age of eight. He then applied to join the Stafford and Stone Canoe Club, but was rejected for being too young. He was given the chance to reapply through his school's canoeing club, but as they only had eight places available which were greatly oversubscribed he was required to write a letter to demonstrate why he deserved a place. His application was successful and he began training with the club, competing in his first race in 2004 at the age of 11.
Clarke attended Alleyne's Academy secondary school. At the age of 15 he contracted bacterial meningitis which caused an abscess behind one eye. He was in hospital for two weeks and was treated with intravenous antibiotics, after which he made a full recovery.
Clarke made his debut for the British junior team in 2009, winning junior European Championship silver medals in the K-1 team event in 2009 and 2010. He has trained at the Lee Valley White Water Centre since 2012.
He won a European Championship under-23 silver medal in the individual K-1 in 2013, and World Championship silver medals in the under-23 team event in 2013 and 2014. At senior level, he won two bronze medals in the K-1 team event at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships, earning them in 2014 and 2015. He also won two silver medals in the same event at the 2014 and 2015 European Championships.
Clarke was selected for the 2016 Summer Olympics after winning the individual K-1 at the British selection trials in October 2015. At the Olympics he qualified for the final of the men's slalom K-1 with the third-fastest time in the semi-final. He won gold in the final with a time of 88.53 seconds, the first time a British competitor had won gold in this event.
Clarke was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to canoeing.