With an English father and a German mother, blonde, blue-eyed Marcus Cooper Waltz moved to Mallorca when he was just three months old.
Now the adopted Spanish National has brought home an Olympic gold medal after destroying the field in the K-1 1,000 metres kayaking event in Rio de Janeiro.
The 21-year-old’s mum, who works in a hotel, his sister and the president of the Balearic Canoeing Foundation, Juan José de Salabert Coll, were all on hand to watch his final, as he led the field after 250 metres. He then dropped back to fifth between 500 and 750 metres before launching a spectacular comeback in the last quarter of the race.
In the aftermath of his victory, Waltz said it was an “honour” to represent a “great country” although he was only able to obtain Spanish nationality two years ago due his parents’ divorce.
The Balearic Federation also pulled a few strings with friends in the local courts in order to speed up the process.
Now, having started his kayaking career at the age of 12 with his local club in Porto Petro, he will return from Brazil a national hero after picking up a completely unexpected Olympic gold medal.