We understand that learning about canoe slalom for the first time can be a challenge. So, we have compiled our top ten facts to help you along.
About canoe slalom – top ten facts
- Canoe slalom originated in Switzerland in 1933. It was a summer alternative to slalom skiing, and racers competed on a flatwater course.
- Slalom comprises two types of boat: canoe (C) and kayak (K). In canoe, athletes use a single-blade paddle. They are strapped into the boat with their legs bent at the knees and tucked under their body. This is in contrast to the double-bladed paddle used in a seated position in kayak.
- Slalom made its Olympic debut as an introduction sport at the 1972 Games in Munich. It was a further 20 years before canoe slalom returned to the Olympic Games. But by this time it had become a core sport.
- Slalom is a timed event where competitors navigate a white water course by passing through a combination of upstream and downstream gates. Colour designates the type of gate. Red is for upstream and green for downstream.
- Slalom courses are designed so the leading athletes will complete them in a time of between 90 and 110 seconds.
- Each course is different but can be a maximum of 300 metres in length and contain a maximum of 25 gates, with a minimum of six upstream gates.
- Course designers set the gate patterns with the aim of utilising the water features – eddies, waves and stoppers – to create a competitive course. No two courses are the same.
- Athletes can incur time penalties with two-seconds added for a gate touch and 50-seconds for missing a gate.
- International competitions have a qualification round followed by a semi final and final with only 10 athletes in the final.
- The Olympic programme for the Tokyo 2020 Games will consist of four classes K1 men, K1 women, C1 men, and C1 Women.