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Canoe Sprint


Canoe sprint has two different types of craft, the kayak and the canoe. The kayak probably originates from Greenland, where it was used by the Eskimos, primarily for hunting, fishing and transportation. The canoe was used all over the world as a method of transportation, trade and war. The first official sporting events were created utilising both of these crafts during the mid-19th century. Canoe sprint has been the traditional form of racing since the inception.

History and basics

The word kayak, meaning “man-boat” in Eskimo, was found predominately in North America, Siberia and Greenland. They were ideal for individual transport and were used primarily for hunting and fishing. The canoe, on the other hand, was used on a wider scale. From Native American tribes to the Polynesians, the canoe had a variety uses, primarily transport, trade and warfare. The basics of Canoe sprint are simple. Get to the finish as fast as possible, the fastest person wins.

Canoe/kayak différences

The design of canoes varied, depending on their use and where they were built; they varied between open-topped bark canoes to dug-out trees to 130ft war canoes. In contrast, kayaks were built to ensure icy Arctic water did not enter the boat. They were made by stretching animal skins over a wooden frame and could generally only carry one man at a time. Kayaks are closed boats with a cockpit for sitting in. Athletes paddle from a sitting position with a double-blade paddle. Canoes are open boats paddled from a kneeling position with a single-blade paddle.

First competition

Canoe sport competitions began in the mid-19th century. The Royal Canoe Club of London was formed in 1866 and was the first organisation interested in developing the sport. In 1871 the New York Canoe Club was founded. The first women’s competition was organised in Russia. By the 1890s, canoe sport was popular all over the European continent. Since canoe sprints entered the Olympics in 1936, its events have changed and adapted in order to improve its overall standing and follow current trends and boat technological advances.

Olympic history

In 1924 in Paris, flatwater canoeing featured at the Games as a demonstration sport. It became an Olympic discipline in Berlin in 1936. Later, some of its events disappeared to make way for new ones.

Overall, Europe dominates this sport, at both the Olympic Games and the World Championships, winning 90 per cent of the medals up for grabs. Since the 1948 Games in London, women have competed in the kayak event only. Today, the Olympic canoe/kayak flatwater programme comprises a total of 12 events.

The recent trend is towards reducing the course distance. At the beginning, in the World Championships, the courses were staged over 1,000 and 10,000 metres for men and 5,000 metres for women. Today, they are over distances of 200, 500 and 1 000 metres. The Olympic events take place over 500 and 1,000 metres.

For the 2012 Games in London, the three men’s flatwater 500 metres events will be replaced by 200m events. 

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Gallery

Canoe Sprint - K-4 1000m Men
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Canoe Sprint - K-4 1000m Men

Max Rendschmidt, Tom Liebscher, Max Hoff and Marcus Gross of Germany compete on their way to winning the gold medal in the Men's Kayak Four 1000m Finals on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Lagoa Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Canoe Sprint - K-2 1000m Men
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Canoe Sprint - K-2 1000m Men

Sebastian Brendel of Germany and Jan Vandrey of Germany compete on their way to winning the Men's Canoe Double 1000m on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Lagoa Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Canoe Sprint - K-4 500m Women
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Canoe Sprint - K-4 500m Women

Wenjun Ren, Qing Ma, Yue Li and Haiping Liu of People's Republic of China compete in the Women's Kayak Four 500m on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Lagoa Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Canoe Sprint - Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Highlights of the Canoe Sprint - Kayak Men / Women on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Lagoa Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
IOC
Canoe Sprint - Kayak Double 1000m Men
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Canoe Sprint - Kayak Double 1000m Men

Max Rendschmidt and Marcus Gross of Germany celebrate after winning gold in the Men's Kayak Double 1000m Final at the Lagoa Stadium on Day 13 of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Canoe Sprint - Kayak Double 200m Men
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Canoe Sprint - Kayak Double 200m Men

Jon Schofield of Great Britain partner of Liam Heath celebrates after winning silver in the Men's Kayak Double 200m Final at the Lagoa Stadium on Day 13 of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on August 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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