Encyclopedia of Sport: Every sport from around the world

Whitewater Slalom

Whitewater slalom is a kayaking and canoeing sport in which athletes use a kayak or canoe to navigate through a course that consists of hanging gates on river rapids. The objective of the sport is to complete the course in the fastest time possible.

The gates used consist of one or two poles. The poles hang down from a wire that stretches across the river. There are a total of 18-25 gates used, of which 6 or 7 must be negotiated in an upstream direction. All gates are numbered, and the downstream gates are colored green and the upstream gates are colored red. Most courses take about 80-120 second to complete.

In competitions, each rider run through the course is timed. If a rider's paddle, boat, or their body touches any of the poles, a 2-second penalty is added to their time. If a rider misses a gate, is off by more than 45 degrees, or clears the gate in a wrong order, a 50-second penalty is enforced. The rides with the fastest net time is declared as the winner.

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The sport is currently a part of the Olympics where a singles medal event is conducted for both men and women. There is also a World Championship and World Cup event for the sport.


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