Canoe Sprint

Canoe Sprint is one of the two disciplines of the sport of Canoeing.

Did you know?

The 200m race will make its Olympic debut at London 2012.
The oldest Canoe club in the world, the Royal Canoe Club of London, was founded in 1866.
Kayaks have a foot-controlled steering rudder bar.
Kayak ‘wing paddles’ invented in Sweden are now used exclusively.

Venue: Eton Dorney
Dates: Monday 6 –  Saturday 11 August
Gold medals up for grabs: 12
Athletes: 246

Canoeing at the Olympic Games

Canoe Sprint first featured in the Olympic Games as a demonstration event in 1924. It became a full medal sport at Berlin 1936, with women first competing (in kayak only) in London 1948.

For more information on the history of the sport visit the IOC website.

How the competition runs

Canoe refers to both kayak and canoe.  The kayak ‘paddler’ is in a sitting position with a double ended paddle and the canoe ‘paddler’ kneels in the boat using a single bladed paddle. The racing is head to head across nine lanes with the objective of crossing the line first. In the Sprint competitions, paddlers race across calm water over distances of 200 metres, 500m and 1,000m. There are Olympic events for single athletes (C1, K1), pairs (C2, K2) and fours (K4). Both men and women race, though women are yet to achieve Olympic status in Canoe.

Jargon buster

  • Paddler: A canoeist
  • Shaft: The narrow part of a paddle, gripped by the paddler.
  • Blade: The end(s) of a paddle
  • Wing paddle:  a relatively new, spoon shape paddle type, now used exclusively
  • Boat Control: Boats checked for weight and length to regulations.
  • Bow:  Front of the craft
  • Cockpit: Mid section of the craft in which the ‘paddler’ sits
  • Spraycover: Waterseal garment between the paddler and the cockpit.
  • Regatta: A Canoe Sprint competition
  • Wash: The rough water left behind a moving boat
  • Start gate: Metal ‘shoe’ in which the bow of the canoe sits immediately awaiting the start.
  • Seeding: Paddlers are distributed by seeding, initially on World Ranking. In any one race, the ‘better’ paddlers are seeded towards the middle of the nine lanes.
  • Heats: Initial stages of the competition with a knock-out result.

Get involved

Contact your national association to find a local club and get information on development schemes for up-and-coming paddlers. Visit Canoe England, Canoe Scotland, the Welsh Canoeing Association, the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland and the International Canoe Federation.

Canada and Australia compete in the men's Kayak Four Semi-final at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

~ by superbowlnyc on February 17, 2011.

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