Ken Wallace, Riley Fitzsimmons, Jacob Clear and Jordan Wood compete in the Men's Kayak Four 1000m.
Ken Wallace, Riley Fitzsimmons, Jacob Clear and Jordan Wood compete in the Men's Kayak Four 1000m. Matthias Hangst

RIO 2016: Kayak team looks to the future

The sprint canoe/kayak team are hoping the blooding of Olympic debutants Riley Fitzsimmons and Jordan Wood will see Australia return to gold medal-winning ways after a disappointing return in Rio.

The 13-strong team arrived in Brazil feeling they were in the hunt for three medals, including defending the gold medal they won in the men's K4 1000m in London.

But that crew finished fourth, with the only medal coming in the men's K2 1000m through Lachlan Tame and Ken Wallace, who now has three Olympic medals to his name.

Team leader Richard Fox said they had hoped for more from the key boats, who race over the one kilometre distance.

"Overall the outcome's not as good as we wanted," Fox said. "We got one bronze and two fourths ... it's not a complete disaster but it's still measured as below par."

Germany were convincing gold medallists in both the men's K2 and K4 1000m events which Fox said could be put down to the talent of Max Rendschmidt and Marcus Gross, who competed in both, as well as their strong program.

That said, Fox believes Games success is cyclical and with Fitzsimmons, 20, and Wood, 24, the son of Olympic medallists Anna Wood and the late Steve Wood, it could be Australia's turn again in Tokyo 2020.

"The renewal that we've seen in the group is encouraging and that's going to inspire the next group to go forward and hopefully be back in Tokyo with a vengeance," he said.

"Their debut finishing in fourth place is nothing to be disappointed about really in the bigger picture."

Fox said a review of the program would consider whether the Australians were focusing too much on World Cup success at the expense of Olympic goals, and it would also look to improve the female representation after the women's K4 failed to qualify.

"We might need a longer build-up to a bigger peak as we haven't lifted to a higher level here as a couple of others have," he said.