Both the canoe and kayak were developed by Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Honouring this past, today’s racing canoe is called the “Canadian.” Men’s canoe-kayak sprint racing was included in the 1936 Olympic Games, with women’s events 12 years later. Sprint made its first Pan American Games appearance in 1967 in Winnipeg and Slalom made its first appearance in Olympic Games in 1972.
Three types of boats are used in slalom racing – the single kayak (K-1), the single canoe (C-1) and the two-man canoe (C-2). Both men and women paddle kayaks and canoes in international competition. Though both men and women paddle kayaks at the Olympic Games, only men compete in Olympic canoe events.
Kayak paddlers sit in the boat and control it with a double-bladed paddle. Canoeists kneel and use a single-bladed paddle. All of the boats are enclosed except for the cockpit, in which the paddler sits or kneels. None of the boats have rudders. Slalom made its first appearance in Olympic Games in 1972.