Canoeing and Kayaking at the Olympics
Canoe and Kayak races at the Olympic Games are held as slalom events and flat water sprints. There are single, double and four boats. The kayak boats are identified by the letter “K” while the canoes are prefixed by a “C”, with the following number indicating the number of paddlers. Sprint events have been contested since Montreal 1936, while slalom events were added in 1972.
Sprint Canoe / Kayak - competitors race on flat water in lanes, in canoes (1 or 2 paddlers) and kayaks (1, 2 or 4 paddlers).
Slalom Canoe / Kayak - competitors aim to navigate a decked canoe or kayak through a course of hanging gates on river rapids in the fastest time possible.
- The sport of canoe / kayak was a demonstration sport at the Paris Olympics in 1924.
- Canoe-Kayak was first held at the Olympic Games in 1936 with Flatwater Racing, while Slalom Racing did not appear in the Olympic Program until 1972.
- Women were added to the program later than the men, and compete only in kayaks.
- The most successful Olympic competitor was Sweden's Gert Fredericson, who between 1948 and 1969 captured six gold medals and one bronze. See more on the Greatest Paddlers at the Olympics.