Canoeing can be traced back to the North
American Indians, who used these single-paddle
craft as a means of transport and for fishing.
Later, the Inuit of Greenland also perfected a
Canoeing did not became a sport until 1866
with the founding of the Royal Canoe Club in
Surrey, England by Rob Roy McGregor.
it became an Olympic sport for flat-water
racing. Later , other forms of canoe racing
(wild-water, slalom and long distance) became
are several disciplines in canoe competitions.
Some competitions are purposely held on rough
waters, such as slalom and wild water racing.
The sprits and marathon are held on flat water.
Marathons are held on open rivers and
England stages the longest in the world, the
120-mile long Devizes to Westminster, which
covers almost the entire length of the river
Thames. The race sets off on one day and
finishes the next, passing through many lock
gates, around which competitors have to lift
are several sorts and sizes of canoe, for
individual of several canoeists. Canoeists wear
a spray deck, which seals the water out of the
cockpit. The paddle for the single competitor
has a blade at each end so it can be placed in
the water on either side of the craft to propel
it in a straight line.
is a major factor in slalom and wild-water
racing, and competitors must wear a crash
helmet, plus a life jacket, and waterproof
clothing. They must have passed a capsizing test
and be able to swim.
RULES AND REGULATIONS
and wild-water racing are against the clock. In
slalom runs, several ‘gates’ have to
be negotiated, often requiring tight turns and
skill by competitors. ‘Gates’ are
two poles hanging down from a wire. The
competitor must keep red and white pole to port
(left) and green and white to starboard (right).
slalom, if a competitor falls out of the canoe
they are disqualified. In wild-water
competition, they may carry on provided they get
back into the canoe without assistance.
RECORDS SET IN THE GAME
Schmidt, born in Brandenburg, Germany, in 1962,
is the most successful woman canoeist. Since
1980 she has won eight Olympic gold medals and a
further 19 gold medals at world championships.
America, strangely enough, had to wait 36
years for Olympic gold medals when Gregory
Barton, born in Jackson, Michigan, 1959, won two
events in the 1988 Olympics with Norman
Bellingham. Barton also won bronze in 1984 and
1992. What was more remarkable is that the
overcame the handicap of being born with club
feet and no calf muscles to become
America’s best racing
DID YOU KNOW?
feat unlikely to be repeated, Richard Grant and
Ernest Lassey completed the longest unaided
canoe journey, lasting from 22 September 1930 to
15 August 1931, circumnavigating the eastern USA
via Chicago, New Orleans, Miami, New York and
the Great Lakes.
Fredriksson, also known as ‘kayak king',
remains one of least known gold Olympic
medallists. Between 1948-1960, he won four
Olympic gold medals.