All eyes on Deodoro
Good morning and welcome to the hot and sunny Deodoro Whitewater Stadium. Today starts 5 days of the most spectacular, exhilarating, tense and thrilling canoe slalom competition. C1M heats now start today at 13.30pm (GMT/UTC - 03:00 hour)
Good luck to all of the paddlers and teams. Congratulations to the huge team behind the scenes for what they have achieved in bringing this amazing competition in Brazil to fruition.
Will the experience of three-time Olympians; David Florence (GBR:C1M), Casey Eichfeld (USA:C1M) and Peter Kauzer (SLO:K1M) trump the vitality and flair of the young guns?
We have seven U23 athletes competing in today’s heats; Felipe Borges (BRA:C1M), Jean Pierre Bourhis (SEN:C1M), Jiri Prskavec (CZE:K1M), Jakub Grigar (SVK:K1M), Michal Smolen ((USA:K1M), Mario Leitner (AUT:K1M) and Pedro Goncalves (BRA:K1M).
“My goal for the Olympics is to go as far as I can, I don’t have a limit and I think everything can happen it’s not like a traditional race but more like a special race,” says 21-year-old Senegal’s Jean Pierre Bourhis.
“I think with my participation, people [in Senegal] will have more interest and help more the canoe slalom. I think and I hope in the future, slalom will have this stamp of potential medal so again we will be more follow by the National Olympic Committee,” he adds, “And of course it will be the moment to develop the activity and the discipline.”
Mike Dawson (NZL:K1M) described his feelings; “Going to the Olympics is something I couldn’t even dream of when I was a kid. I'm incredibly proud to represent Australia at the Olympic Games and a medal is what I'm aiming for.”
Quick reference guide to the Deodoro Whitewater Stadium
The overall site is essentially split into four key areas:
- Front of housewhere 8,400 spectators a day will be able to watch the canoe slalom heats, semi-finals or finals;
- Field of play that represents the slalom course on which the athletes are competing;
- Back of house where several hundred accredited officials, including the volunteers, will be busy ensuring a smooth running event. This also includes the medical centre, equipment store, media and race control.
- Mixed zone where the accredited media can come together with the athletes.
Each of the 31 National Federations is provided with their own team covered area. Here the 84 athletes can relax with their own team to stretch, sleep, mentally prepare and talk to their coaches and managers. Each is furnished with tables chairs, mats and fridges.
The Olympics are very different for these competitors. With only one boat per class per nation they do not have the familiarity of a larger team from their home nation as they would have at World Championships. Other facilities provided to the National Federations include changing facilities, provision for the athletes to get massages before and after their runs, catering and a boat repair facility available too if needed. The teams are provided with TV monitors so that they can watch the live feed and review video of the runs.
There is separate space for the athletes to hang their boats in slings and the whole venue is secure so that the teams and athletes can leave their equipment at the venue for the duration of the Games.
The paddlers have a warm-up lake and additional to a second shorter 160-metre intermediary/ warm up whitewater slalom course. When ready, a conveyor then carries the paddler in their boat from the lake up to the start pool holding area, where 4 submersible pumps provide 12 cubic litres of water a second.
Keep tuning in
The blog will continue throughout the Olympic canoe slalom race; bringing you race analysis of C1M and K1M heats as well as tomorrow’s K1W and C2M preview.
Follow the live Olympic canoe slalom race commentary on Twitter @PlanetCanoe or search hashtag #ICFslalom
If you are new to canoe slalom sit back either at Deodoro or at home in front of the TV and prepare to watch this most sensational sport. We hope it encourages you to pick up a paddle, coach or support this wonderful sport.