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Canoe sprint

For centuries, canoes were used as a means of transport on a daily basis in North America, Siberia and Greenland. Primarily a tool for hunting and fishing, it first became a sport in the mid-19th century in Great Britain. The first recorded competitive canoe sprint race  took place at the British Royal Canoe Club in 1869.

Brief overview of the rules

Canoe and kayak races feature on the Olympic Games programme, each with their own specific rules. Canoers kneel in the boat and use a single-blade paddle on one side at a time, whereas kayakers are seated and used a double-bladed paddle.

Canoe sprint races take place on flatwater and feature sprints over various distances (women’s races are either over 200m or 500m, while men’s races are either 500m or 1000m), with one, two or four athletes per boat.

Olympic history

Canoe sprint, on the other hand, became an official Olympic sport at the Berlin 1936 Games. It had already featured as a demonstration sport at the Paris 1924 Games.

Events in 2024

Canoe sprint events will be organised between the 6th and the 10th of August.


  • Kayak Single 1000m (men’s)
  • Kayak Single 500m (women’s)
  • Kayak Double 500m (women’s / men’s)
  • Kayak Four 500m (women’s / men’s)
  • Canoe Single 1000m (men’s)
  • Canoe Single 200m (women’s)
  • Canoe Double 500m (women’s / men’s)

Venue in 2024

International organisation

International Canoe Federation (ICF)

© Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

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