Flatwater Racing

Flatwater racing (sprint), which is referred to by the IOC as “canoe/kayak flatwater”, is one of the two forms of the two canoeing disciplines that feature in the Summer Olympics, the other being canoe/kayak slalom. Marathon racing is not an Olympic sport. In non-Olympic years the main event are the World Championships.


Flatwater racing takes place on a straight course divided in lanes, on calm water. The distances recognised by the ICF for international races are 200 m, 500 m, and 1000 m. Each boat has its own designated lane, except for races over more than 1000 m, where there also may be turning points. Men race in canoes and in kayaks, women only in kayaks except for in Canada, where women’s canoe is an event raced at both Canada Games and National Championships. For each race a number of heats, semi-finals and a final may be necessary, depending on the number of competitors.


Flatwater racing has been part of the Olympic Games since 1936 (Berlin) for men, and since 1948 (London) for women. Notable Olympic gold medal winners are Birgit Fischer-Schmidt (8 gold medals since 1980) and Gert Fredriksson (6 gold medals between 1948 and 1960).


List of Olympic events:
C-1 200 m (canoe single) Men
C-1 1000 m (canoe single) Men
C-2 200 m (canoe double) Men
C-2 1000 m (canoe double) Men
K-1 200 m (kayak single) Women
K-1 500 m (kayak single) Women
K-1 1000 m (kayak single) Men
K-2 200 m (kayak double) Men
K-2 500 m (kayak double) Women
K-2 1000 m (kayak double) Men
K-4 500 m (kayak four) Women
K-4 1000 m (kayak four) Men

In World and European Championship competitions, C-4 races are also held, as well as the women’s races in all classes.

Alberta Sprint Racing Canoe Association

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