Having been voted Mr Bulgaria in 1993 and placing a respectable sixth in the Mr European title, canoeist Martin Marinov is no stranger to being in the spotlight.
However, moving to Australia has meant becoming virtually anonymous again. While few Australians have heard of Marinov he admits ‘he used to be the centre of attention and is still very famous in Bulgaria. Even today he is still inundated with interview requests from the Bulgarian media.
'I'm still very famous in Bulgaria,' he said.
Life as Mr Bulgaria was full of fun and parties, but Marinov rules out an attempt at becoming Mr Australia.
'Not at my age, it's good for young people,' Marinov said.
He will find himself again in the media’s eye today as he takes on the Men’s C1 500m semi-final field where he will be assured of a final berth in Saturday’s Final providing he finishes in the top three of his semi-final.
Marinov, who won bronze in Seoul and Atlanta, said he loves the Australian weather and is happy to be part of the Aussie team.
'It's a big team, it's different to Bulgaria, it's a different culture,' he said.
He missed two weeks of training in the lead-up to Athens due to a torn muscle in his upper back, but the injury caused him no problems in the heat.
'I'm getting better every day, better and better,' he said.
'I missed the most important part of my preparation in the last month, but still I feel good.'
Marinov has already made history, becoming the first canoeist to represent Australia over the 500m distance (which was introduced in 1976) and our only C1 500m representative in the past 40 years.
Australia was last represented at the Tokyo Games in 1964 in the canoe class where Fred Wasmer and Vid Juricskay of Victoria competed in the C2 and C1 1000m.
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