LONDON 2012: Olympic Games – Canoe Slalom

The Olympic Canoe Slalom competition will call for speed, control and precision on the daunting white water rapids at the new Lee Valley White Water Centre.

Since becoming a permanent part of the Olympic programme 20 years ago in Barcelona, the sport has thrilled crowds at the Games with spectacular, non-stop action on the powerful and unforgiving water.

Modelled on slalom skiing, the first Canoe Slalom competition was held in Switzerland in 1932.

The sport was staged on flat water during its early days, but was later switched to white-water rapids.

Canoe Slalom is dominated by Europeans, with 10 of the 12 medals at the Beijing Olympics going to European competitors.

Beijing’s canoe single silver medallist David Florence could become the first Team GB canoeist to win a medal in two events at an Olympics.

He also goes in the canoe double with Richard Hounslow – they won bronze at the 2010 World Championships.

France’s Tony Estanguet is bidding for a third Olympic gold in the canoe single.

He has clinched world and European titles in the last two years.

In the canoe double, Slovakian twins Pavel and Peter Hochschorner are aiming for an outstanding fourth successive Olympic gold.


Canoe Slalom made its debut at the Munich 1972 Olympic Games.

Though the sport didn’t become a permanent part of the Olympic programme until some 20 years later, at the Barcelona Games in 1992.

London 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the Canoe Slalom competitions at the Olympic Games.


Canoe Slalom competitions consist of timed runs down a white water course with up to 25 gates.

Red gates must be negotiated upstream, while green gates must be negotiated downstream.

Touching a gate adds a two-second time penalty to the run, while missing a gate completely incurs a 50-second penalty.

The time taken to run the course in seconds is added to any penalties to give the overall score. 

Within Canoe Slalom there are events for both canoes and kayaks.

In Canoe Single (C1, for one person) and Canoe Double (C2, for two people) events, competitors kneel and use single-bladed paddles; in the Kayak event (K1), competitors sit and use paddles with blades at both ends. 

While the boats used in Canoe Sprint events are long and streamlined, Canoe Slalom boats are small, light and agile.

The different shape has more stability and allows for greater manoeuvrability through the rapids.


All five days of the Canoe Slalom competition will covered extensively during the first week on BBC One and BBC Three.

Every session from the Lee Valley Centre will also screened live and uninterrupted on one of the 24 dedicated BBC Olympics channels.

Commentators: Paul Dickenson, Helen Reeves
BBC Radio
Commentators: Alistair Bruce-Ball, Martin Cross, Anna Hemmings
Full list of BBC Olympics TV presenters/commentators – CLICK HERE


13:30 – Men’s Canoe Single (C1) | Heats
14:24 – Men’s Kayak (K1) | Heat
LIVE BBC Olympics 16 – 1.25pm-5.50pm
13:30 – Men’s Canoe Double (C2) | Heats 
14:12 – Women’s Kayak (K1) | Heats
LIVE BBC Olympics 3 – 1.25pm-5.40pm
13:30 – Men’s Canoe Single (C2) | Semi Finals 
15:06 – Men’s Canoe Single (C2) | FINAL
LIVE BBC Olympics 1 – 1.25pm-4.05pm
13:30 – Men’s Kayak (K1) | Semi Finals 
15:15 – Men’s Kayak (K1) | FINAL
LIVE BBC Olympics 4 – 1.25pm-4.20pm
13:30 – Men’s Canoe Double (C2) | Semi Finals
14:12 – Women’s Kayak (K1) | Semi Finals
15:18 – Men’s Canoe Double (C2) | FINAL
15:57 – Women’s Kayak (K1) | FINAL
LIVE BBC Olympics 1 – 1.25pm-5.10pm

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