Canoe sprint consists of head-to-head races conducted on still water, as opposed to the white-water time trials of the canoe slalom competition.
In canoes, athletes race single (men’s C1) or in pairs (men’s C2). In kayaks, athletes race either single (men’s K1 and women’s K1), in pairs (men’s K2 and women’s K2) or in fours (men’s K4 and women’s K4).
Canoes are operated from a kneeling position with a single-bladed paddle, while kayaks have a closed top and athletes race from a seated position using paddles with blades at each end.
Canoeing events were included as a demonstration sport in the 1924 Summer Games in Paris and the founding of the International Canoe Federation prompted the inclusion of canoeing and kayaking as full Olympic sports for Berlin 1936. Canoeing and kayaking events were opened up to women 12 years later at London 1948.