DAVID FLORENCE aimed for the moon and became an Olympic star after winning a silver medal for Great Britain in the canoe slalom.
Florence, a physics graduate, recently applied to become an astronaut and was so keen to get on the course that he lied about speaking Russian on the application form.
He never made it onto the European space programme – much to his mother’s relief – but he did succeed in reaching the Olympic podium after a dramatic day for Britain on the Shunyi rapids.
Florence, in fourth place heading into the final, produced a penalty-free final run to claim Britain’s fourth medal of the Beijing Olympics.
“I have got an Olympic medal. I am absolutely delighted. It has been a long, long time coming and it means everything to me,” said Florence.
“The opportunity came along to try to do something absolutely incredible so I applied (to the European Space Agency).
“I didn’t get in but this was always the main focus. This is just a fantastic result after 10 or 11 years’ hard work.”