- The basics: there are two types of canoeing – sprint and slalom.
At the Games there will be four slalom events (three for men, one for women) and 12 sprint (seven men, five women).
For slalom canoeing, competitors work their way down a course of rapidly moving water and they must pass through a number of gates as quickly as possible. The canoeist with the fastest combined time over the course of two runs wins. If you touch a gate though you are given a two second penalty and if you miss a gate completely, 50 seconds is added on to your overall time.
Sprint canoeing is very self-explanatory. Competitors race on flat water over a distance – usually either 500m or 1000m.
- Canoeing history
Sprint canoeing became a full event in 1936, but slalom canoeing only arrived in 1972.
- Main contenders for medals in London: Central Europeans
Germany will be looking to replicate their dominant form from the previous Games in Beijing, and the Slovakian Hochschorner twins are on course for a fourth consecutive gold medal in the slalom.
- Canoeing in numbers
330 athletes will be in London to compete for a total of 16 gold medals. That’s about a one in 20 chance for Maths boffs out there.
Look out for: the Hochschorner twins – Pavol and Peter. The Slovakian brothers are gunning for a fourth successive gold medal.
Not to be confused with: rowing, pedalo-ing, or any other similar device you can glide around on in water.
Useless but informative fact: in slalom canoeing, if a boat is upturned but the competitor manages roll back up, it’s called an eskimo roll.
Canoeing in two words: strength, balance.
Slalom events take place between 29 July and 1 August, while sprint events start on 6 August and finish on 11 August.