Canoe sprint

Aquatics It is a discipline that stands out due to its speed, strength and stamina.

Canoe sprint is a sport that is practiced on calm waters, and two types of vessels are used: canoe and kayak.

In the picture, there is an aerial view of a female athlete sitting on a kayak. She is wearing red and is holding a two blade paddle.

History of this sport

The origins of canoeing are related to the use of small boats in ancient times for fishing, transportation, trade and even war. At the time, they sought to create light boats that moved quickly on the water.

Kayaks were made specifically for cold places like North America, Siberia, and Greenland. They were made of wood and animal skins were used to keep people warm. In general, only one person could go. In the case of canoes, they used to be wider and longer, leaving room for more people inside.

Centuries later, this sport found an official starting point in London. In 1866 the Royal Canoe Club was created, and since then it has spread throughout the European continent and the United States. Flatwater canoeing was a demonstration sport at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, but was not considered an Olympic discipline until Berlin 1936.

In the case of the Pan American Games, canoe sprint was admitted to the program at Indianapolis 1987 and the historical medal table is led by Cuba, with 37 gold medals.

In the picture, there is an aerial view of a female athlete sitting on a kayak. She is wearing red and is holding a two blade paddle.

How do you compete?

Canoe sprint competitions are held in two types of boats, the canoe and the kayak. The tests can be individual or in pairs, and you can even compete in groups of four people.

Those in canoes are on their knees and use a single-blade paddle, while athletes in kayaks remain seated and use a double-blade paddle. Kayakers steer their boat with their feet, while in the canoe there is no rudder, so they steer with their paddle. In both boats, athletes must always move forward.

Depending on the strength of the athletes, boats go from being practically still on the water to moving at high speed at their starting point. The key in the case of teams is timing.

Today, the canoe sprint program has female and male categories. There are tests that have routes of up to 1,000 meters and resistance and tactical paddling strategy of the athletes are key to becoming a champion.


In which year was canoe sprint considered an Olympic discipline?

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Information for the community

Remember that this sport will be held at Laguna Grande de San Pedro de la Paz in the Biobío Region. Other outstanding places that we recommend you to practice Canoe are:

  • Maule Region: San Javier, Talca y Constitución.
  • Ñuble Region: Quillón.
  • Bio Bio Region: Laja.
  • Araucanía Region: Nueva Imperial, Lautaro y Carahue.
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