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Sprint canoe

C-1 in Kharkov river

A sprint canoe is a canoe used in International Canoe Federation canoe sprint. It is an open boat propelled by one, two or four paddlers from a kneeling position, using single-bladed paddles.[1] The difficulty of balance can depend on how wide or narrow the canoe is, although regularly the less contact a canoe has with the water the faster it goes. This makes the narrower boats much more faster and popular when it comes to racing.


Canoeing was a demonstration sport at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. It was the first time that the sport was part of the Olympic program. The French Olympic Committee asked the Canadian Olympic Committee to demonstrate the sport in Paris. Races were arranged between the Canadian Canoe Association and the Washington Canoe Club from the United States. Events were held for C1, C2, and C4.[2] Canoeing has been a medal sport since the 1936 Games in Berlin where C1s and C2s raced. 1924 was the last time C4s were raced in the Olympics.

The trend is towards reducing the course distance. Early races were staged over 1,000 and 10,000 meters for men and 5,000 meters for women. Today, they are over distances of 200, 500 and 1000 meters. For the 2012 Games in London, the 500m events were replaced by 200m events.

Women's canoe debuted internationally at the 2010 championships in Poznań, Poland and will be in the Olympics for the first time with a C1 event at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.


Boats are symmetrical along the length and are only paddled on one side, paddlers use what is called a J stroke to keep their boats straight while they paddle. ICF boat types are C-1, C-2, C-4.. In the past, European kayaks were known as canoes, while canoes were known as Canadian canoes. The number stands for the number of crew. ICF boats:[3]

Boats C1 C2 C4
Max. length in cm 520 650 900
Min. weight in kg 16 20 30

Boats raced in North America are the Canadian C4, which is wider than the ICF C4, and the C-15 or war canoe.[4]

Up to the year 2000[5] there was a regulation that a canoe had to have a minimum width of 75 cm, which led to boats flaring out above the water line to meet that requirement. These canoes were known as deltas, and typically have a diamond-shape, when viewed from above. An example was the Struer Delta, designed in 1956.[6] The restriction was dropped soon after Plastex began manufacturing boats with wings.[7]


  1. ^ "Equipment and history". IOC. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Olympiade Paris 1924 - Rapport Officiel"e"Les Jeux de la VIII (PDF). Comité Olympique Français. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "ICF Canoe Sprint Rules" (PDF). ICF. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "Canoe sprint". ICF. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "History". Plastex. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Delta". Struer. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Welcome to". Retrieved 21 May 2014. 

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