Powerful athletes race head-to-head on a beautiful 9-lane course in narrow, high-speed canoes and kayaks. Olympic Flatwater Sprint Racing combines grace, power, fitness, exact paddling mechanics, and tremendous mental strength in three distances – 200m, 500m, and 1000m. First introduced in the 1924 Paris Olympic Games, Canoe/Kayak Sprint became a full medal sport in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. With Slalom, Canoe/Kayak represents the 4th largest Olympic sport with 16 events: 10 in Sprint and 6 in Slalom.
Athletes are seated and use a paddle with a blade at each end in Kayak events while racing in one-person (K1), two-person (K2), and four-person (K4) boats. Canoe events, in single (C1) and double (C2), are characterized by a single-bladed paddle and are raced from the powerful high-knee position. C4s are also raced at the annual World Championships.
The USA has won 7 Gold, 4 Silver, and 6 Bronze Olympic Medals in Sprint.