What’s the deal?
It’s the ultimate whitewater course. Paddlers in canoes or kayaks fight racing rapids to navigate through a gated course as fast and as clean as possible. That sounds like gravity at work, but paddlers have to traverse the course from side to side, and depending on the color of the gate, they have to go through it either downstream (green gates) or fight to go through it in the upstream direction (red gates). If they hit or miss a gate, they get a time penalty.
You said canoes or kayaks? What’s up with that?
Yeah, it’s confusing, but both Olympic canoe sports have canoe and kayak events. What’s the difference? In Canoe Slalom both boats look alike, but kayakers sit and use a double-bladed paddle so they can alternate their strokes. Canoeists kneel and are strapped into their boats, and they use single bladed paddles, so they have to move their paddles from one side of the boat to the other.
Event names give you another clue – they’re named with the initial of the boat type, the number of people in the boat and the gender that’s paddling. So, C2M is men’s doubles canoe, and K1W is women’s individual kayak.
The four events are K1M, K1W, C1M, C2M. Did you follow? Basically, women only get to do individual kayak in this event. Men get to do individual kayak and canoe and double’s canoe.
Five reasons to watch:
- It’s humans vs. water–and water is one tough competitor.
- The will they/won’t they factor–getting through the course cleanly is an accomplishment in and of itself.
- To see the difference between C and K for yourself.
- Pecs, deltoids, lats, biceps and triceps on display.
- It looks like SO MUCH FUN.
Everyone’s talking about:
Frenchman Tony Estanguet, three-time Olympic gold medalist in the C1M retired after the London Games, so who will take over the champion’s podium?
If you’ve got The Feverr, you’re watching:
The women’s event — c’mon, they only get one. You can’t miss it!
Potential drinking game:
Anytime someone rolls, drink.
The perfect snack:
Paddle some celery and carrot sticks through some ranch dressing.
Check out the International Canoe Federation to learn how to compete.
Judging is crucial to this sport. Make your own splash as part of the officiating team.