Canoe sprint uses the kayak or the canoe. Kayaks are believed to originate from Greenland and were popular in North America.

Canoe & Kayak and the Olympics

Canoe sprint uses the kayak or the canoe. Kayaks are believed to originate from Greenland and were popular in North America. Kayaks were used for hunting and fishing, while canoes were used for transportation, trading and during war. Sporting events using these watercraft began in the mid-1800s. Flatwater canoeing was demonstrated at the 1924 Paris Games, and added as an official event at the 1936 Berlin Games.

Flatwater men’s events include the C-1 1,000 meter and C-1 500 meter (both with a single person in a canoe), the C-2 1,000 meter and C-2 500 meter (both with two people in a canoe), the K-1 1,000 meter and K-1 500 meter (with one person in a kayak), the K-2 1,000 meter and K-2 500 meter (with two people in a kayak), and the K-4 1,000 meter (with four people in a kayak). Flatwater women’s events include the K-1 500 meter (one person in a kayak), K-2 500 meter (two people in a kayak), and K-4 500 meter (four people in a kayak).

Canoe slalom was designed with ski slalom in mind, and began in 1932 in Switzerland. These events are held in white water rapids. The boats are smaller, lighter and more agile in these events, though canoes and kayaks are still used. Canoe slalom came to popularity before World War II, and appeared at the 1972 Munich Games before being added permanently in the 1992 Games in Barcelona.

Slalom men’s events include the C-1 (one person in a canoe), C-2 (two people in a canoe), and K-1 (one person in a kayak.) Women compete in slalom in the K-1 (one woman in a kayak).

During the 2012 London Games canoe and kayak events will be held July 31 – August 2, August 8-9, and August 11. A total of 16 gold medals will be awarded.

Canoe & Kayak at Michigan State

Female students canoeing on the Red Cedar River in the 1920s

On the banks of the Red Cedar River, there is a long tradition of canoeing and kayaking at Michigan State. There used to be a canoe and kayak rental facility in Bessey Hall (where the MSU Bikes main office is currently located), but this was closed in the early 2000s. There have been many MSU events held on the river, including the MSU Water Carnival. As you can see in the above photograph, canoeing was once an active pastime for students.

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