Tokyo Olympics: Kiwi paddler Lisa Carrington adds third gold to Games medal haul

Kiwi paddler Lisa Carrington has become the most successful NZ Olympian ever, winning the fifth gold medal of her illustrious career and third at Tokyo this week.

Carrington has powered to victory in the K1 500 to surpass canoe legend Ian Ferguson for the most Olympic titles.

Ferguson won four gold medals across Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988, including back-to-back K2 500 crowns with Paul MacDonald.

With seven Olympic medals in her resume, Carrington also passes Ferguson - four gold and one silver - for that distinction.

Just as she had in the K1 200 and K2 500 with Caitlin Regal, Carrington powered out from the start and lead Hungarian Tamara Scipes by a full second at halfway.

Holding that effort over 500 metres was always the challenge for the Kiwi, who finished third in this event at Rio five years ago.

Scipes did come back at her towards the end, but was still 0.639s behind when the finish-line arrived.

"It's amazing," she told Sky Sport. "We set out for such a big task this week, but to be able to do it is just another thing.

"I'm so proud and amazed at what's happened this week so far. I'm so fortunate to have an incredible support team."

Carrington has had to dismiss the background noise over her place in Olympic history to keep her mind on the task at hand. She still has another shot at gold later in the week, as part of the K4 500 boat.

"It's crazy," she said. "There's a lot of talk from people saying I could do this and could be that.

"I'm not focused on the 'what ifs', but just doing my best."

Regal underlined the depth of the NZ canoe squad, winning the K1 500 'B' final in 1m 53.681s, which would have placed sixth in the 'A' race.

In the men's K2 1000, Max Brown and Kurtis Imrie surpassed expectations with fifth, less than two seconds behind winners Australia.