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.


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