With the canoe slalom events in the 2012 London Olympics nearly at an end, the spectators are on their toes for the results of the Men’s C2 and Women’s K1 Event. To date, France and Italy are in the lead, each bagging a Gold medal, and Germany successfully winning a Silver and Bronze.
The slalom events are one of the most viewed Olympic events, thanks to the thousands of extreme sports enthusiasts who have supported the slalom events and the slalom competitors from the Men’s Category. Tony Estanguet (France) successfully brought home the Gold medal for the Men’s C1 (Canoe Single) event, with Sideris Tasiadis (Germany) and Michal Martikan (Slovakia) winning the Silver and Bronze medals, respectively.
Daniele Molmenti (Italy) won first place in the Men’s K1 (Kayak Single) event, with Vavřinec Hradílek (Czech Republic) winning the Silver medal and Hannes Aigner (Germany) bagging the Bronze medal. The last two events, Men’s C2 (Canoe Double) and Women’s K1 (Kayak Single), are scheduled to end today, August 2, thus bringing an end to the first leg of canoeing races at the 2012 London Olympics. The next set of canoeing races under the Sprint category will be held on August 6 to 11.
Canoe Slalom and Extreme Sports in the Olympics: A Quick History
Whitewater slalom was officially renamed canoe slalom in November 2008 and is considered a competitive sport. The goal of the sport is to navigate a kayak or canoe through a course of rapids in the fastest possible time. It is one of the two official canoeing disciplines of the Summer Olympics, the other discipline being called Canoe Sprint.
Slalom Canoeing first became an Olympic event in 1972, where the competitors navigated an artificial whitewater course in Augsburg, West Germany. After nearly 20 years of absence from the Olympics, slalom canoeing became a part of the 1992 Olympics in La Seu d’Urgell, Spain. Canoe Slalom and Canoe Sprint have been regular events at the Olympics ever since.
Most of the courses used in the various canoe slalom Olympic Games were artificial or man-made concrete channels, except in the USA 1996 Olympics when the organizers decided to use an altered river bed of the Ocoee River. The ‘80s saw through the trend of creating artificial courses for whitewater races, in keeping with the first artificial course used for the event, the Augsburg Eiskanal used in the 1972 Olympic Games.
Today, most Olympic slalom teams make use of at least one artificial course for training. Artificial rivers situated in controlled environments are preferred for training and competitions because of the consistent field of play they present to the racers and the excellent views afforded to the spectators. Natural river courses that are excellent for canoe slalom events, however, are still popular tourist attractions to extreme sports enthusiasts.
Canoe Slalom and Canoe Sprint Event Results
To stay updated with the latest canoe slalom events and other extreme sports events in the 2012 London Olympics, keep checking back – we will cover it as we see it.
Creative Commons photo by David Merrett