15 June 2021

London 2012: Bluffer’s guide to sprint canoeing

June 21, 2012
London 2012:  Bluffer's guides to sprint canoeing

Sprint canoeing is fielding both the largest and the strongest team we have had in the last four Olympic Games. This dynamic sport, like rowing takes place on flat water and is run in lanes.

Photo credit: Antony Edmonds

Canoeists can compete in single, double or four man boats, these hi-tech kayaks are extremely unstable and designed to have as little of the boat in the water as possible to aid speed.

Competitors race over 200, 500 and 1000 metres. Britain’s most famous canoeist is Tim Brabants who won Britain’s first ever Gold Medal in the 1000m event in Beijing 2008.

The London Games also marks the inauguration of 200m events, look out for Edward McKeever who won gold at the World Championships in 2012, and also Jessica Walker in the women’s team.

Venue: Eton Dorney Lake.

Date:  August 6-11

Jargon buster

Kayak: This is the type of boat used by competitors who sit down in their boat and use a double ended paddle.

K1, K2 and K4: This refers to the class/type of boat, K1 means a kayak for 1 person, K2, for two people, K4, for four people.

Canoe: This is the type of boat used by competitors who kneel in their boat and use a single ended paddle.

C1 and C2: This refers to the class/type of boat, C1 means Canoe for 1 person, C2 for two people.

Paddle: Canoeists use a double or single ended paddle (sometimes referred to as a blade) Often this is mistakenly called an oar by the uninitiated.

Paddler: The common term for a canoeist or kayaker.

Spraydeck: A waterproof fabric cover that prevents water entering cockpit, it is worn around the waist of the competitor and then stretched taught around the cockpit when they are sat in the boat. This is not used by the C1 or C2 competitors.

Basic rules

Races take place in lanes, competitors line up at the start pontoons, where they are held in the starting gate until the start gun goes.

They paddle in a straight line towards the finish line and must not move out of their lane.

The competition will be run in heats, with the winner progressing straight to the final and the runners up having to go on to a semi-final.

This format will vary slightly depending on how many entries the event receives. Only one entry per country is available in each event, so competition for selection is fierce.

One’s to watch

GB’s Rachel Cawthorn will be competing in the women’s K1 500m. Rachel won gold over 1000m at the 2010 European Championships in Trasona and bronze over the Olympic distance of 500m at the 2010 World Championships. Jessica Walker will be taking part in the 200m event, this is the first time this shorter distance has featured in the Olympic games. Rachel and Jessica will be joined by Angela Hannah and Louisa Sawers for the K4 500m.

Who to follow on twitter…





Sprint Canoe fact

Scott John MacGregor was the first European to use an Inuit Kayak for tourism and excursion purposes, he also formed the first-ever kayak club “The Royal Canoe Club of London” on the 25 July 1866 in London. Royal Canoe club, based in Kingston Upon Thames remains to this day a thriving club and boasts Tim Brabants as one of it’s members.

The Women’s Sports Magazine

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Select a sport

Find out how to get started, training plans and expert advice.