Canoe/Kayak Sprint at Tokyo 2020

Venue: Sea Forest Waterway

Competition Dates: August 3-8 (Days 10-15)

Events: 12 (6 men, 6 women)

National Federation: Canoe Kayak Canada

International Federation: International Canoe Federation

The Olympic program will become gender equal at Tokyo 2020 with the addition of women’s canoe events. Men and women will each compete in four kayak events and two canoe events.

The kayak events include the men’s K-1 200m, K-1 1000m, K-2 1000m and K-4 500m and the women’s K-1 200m, K-1 500m, K-2 500m and K-4 500m. The canoe events are the men’s C-1 1000m and C-2 1000m to go with the women’s C-1 200m and C-2 500m.

All events are designated by a letter and number indicating the type of boat (C for canoe or K for kayak) and the number of paddlers in the boat as well as the distance to be covered. Each event features eight racing lanes. Depending on the number of entries, there will be preliminary heats, semifinals and finals. The A final ranks the first eight places and the B final determines places 9 through 16.

In canoe events, the athletes assume a kneeling position and use a single-bladed paddle to propel and steer their boat through the water. In kayak events, the athletes use a double-bladed paddle while sitting in the boat, which they steer with a small rudder.

Canada’s Olympic History (Pre-Tokyo 2020)

Canadian paddlers have been winning Olympic medals since the sport made its debut at Berlin 1936 where Frank Amyot won gold in the C-1 1000m and Frank Saker and Harvey Charters won silver in the C-2 10,000m to go with their bronze in the C-2 1000m. After a pair of medals at London 1948 and one at Helsinki 1952, it would be another 24 years before a Canadian paddler stood on an Olympic podium, when John Wood won C-1 500m silver on home waters at Montreal 1976.

Canada’s biggest medal haul came at Los Angeles 1984 where six medals were won, including two gold, from Larry Cain in the C-1 500m and Alwyn Morris and Hugh Fisher in the K-2 1000m. Cain added a silver in the C-1 1000m while Morris and Fisher also won bronze in the K-2 500m. These were also the first Games at which Canadian women won kayak medals, taking silver in the K-2 500m and bronze in the K-4 500m, 36 years after women’s kayak events were first included on the Olympic program.

Caroline Brunet took up the mantle for the Canadian women by winning three straight medals in the K-1 500m at Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, and Athens 2004. It was at those latter Games that Adam van Koeverden won the first of his four Olympic medals, taking gold in the K-1 500m and bronze in the K-1 1000m. He added a pair of silvers at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

It was also at London 2012 that Mark Oldershaw won bronze in the C-1 1000m, the third medal in four Games for Canada in the event (following Steve Giles at Sydney 2000 and Thomas Hall at Beijing 2008), but the first Olympic medal for the Oldershaw family, of which Mark was the fifth member and third generation to compete. Mark de Jonge added a bronze in the Olympic debut of the K-1 200m.