Caroline Brunet made her Olympic debut as a 19-year-old at Seoul 1988 where she did not advance out of the heats in either the K-1 500m or the K-4 500m. But then, in her next seven Olympic races over the following four Games, Brunet never missed a final.
At Barcelona 1992, Brunet finished seventh in the K-1 500m and sixth in the K-4 500m. At Atlanta 1996, Brunet led the K-1 500m from the start but was overtaken by the Hungarian kayaker. She missed the gold medal by 0.236 seconds, but did capture her first Olympic medal, a silver. She was the only Canadian canoe/kayak medallist at Atlanta 1996 and the first Canadian medallist in the sport since Los Angeles 1984.
Brunet entered her fourth Olympic Games at Sydney 2000 as Canada’s Opening Ceremony flag bearer and a double gold medal threat, having won the last three world titles in the K-1 500 and going undefeated for more than two years. Brunet led at the halfway mark of the K-1 500m final but was overtaken by Italy’s Josefa Idem Guerrini, who was competing in her fifth Olympic Games. She missed the gold medal again, by 0.798 seconds. Over her Olympic career, Brunet lost out on two K-1 500m gold medals in two Olympic Games by a total time of barely more than one second. In the K-2 500m in 2000, Brunet and Karen Furneaux finished fifth.
Mining for Olympic gold, Brunet arrived at Athens 2004 as the K-1 500m runner-up at the last two Olympic Games and World Championships. She won her opening heat to advance directly to the K-1 500m final where she won a bronze medal in her last Olympic performance. She also finished seventh in the K-2 500m with Mylanie Barré.
Brunet began kayaking at the age of 11 and made the Canadian national team in 1987 at age 17. She completely dominated the sport for a decade from 1993 to 2003. At the 1997, 1998 and 1999 World Championships, she won the K-1 200m, 500m and 1000m titles each year, except in 1998, when she was second in the K-1 1000m. Overall, Brunet won 10 World Championship gold medals and 11 silver and bronze medals in six boats (K-1 200m, K-1 500m, K-1 1000m, K-2 500m, K-2 1000m, K-4 200m). Brunet won more world championship and Olympic medals than all the Canadian canoe/kayak athletes who preceded her combined.
In 1999, Brunet was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s most outstanding athlete of the year. She was inducted to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 2010.
|1988 Seoul||Canoe-Kayak - Sprint||K-4 500m - Women||10|
|1988 Seoul||Canoe-Kayak - Sprint||K-1 500m - Women||13|
|1992 Barcelona||Canoe-Kayak - Sprint||K-4 500m - Women||6|
|1992 Barcelona||Canoe-Kayak - Sprint||K-1 500m - Women||7|
|1996 Atlanta||Canoe-Kayak - Sprint||K-1 500m - Women||Silver|
|2000 Sydney||Canoe-Kayak - Sprint||K-2 500m - Women||5|
|2000 Sydney||Canoe-Kayak - Sprint||K-1 500m - Women||Silver|
|2004 Athens||Canoe-Kayak - Sprint||K-2 500m - Women||7|
|2004 Athens||Canoe-Kayak - Sprint||K-1 500m - Women||Bronze|