Rio Olympic canoe slalom day 1 preview

The canoe slalom paddlers are back in Deodoro after the beautifully choreographed opening ceremony. Here is a preview of what to expect tomorrow for the first day of canoe slalom starting at the fabulous world class Deodoro whitewater centre.

Athletes have spent much time familiarizing themselves with this stunning venue since the Olympic test event last November. It is now ready to host canoe slalom at the Olympics for the 8th time. We are guaranteed new Olympic Champions in each class. 

“Once again just getting to the Games is a story in itself in many countries so those competing really have the expectations of a Nation on their shoulders,” said commentator Andy Maddock.

These sentiments are reinforced by 2011 World Champion, Denis Gargaud Chanut (FRA:C1M). “I think the process of selection make this race even more special now that only one boat per country can race! I never competed at the Olympic so I will also discover it from my own eyes.”  

Today the course has been set for the heats. It has been designed by Thomas Schmidt from Germany (Sydney Olympic Champion) and Marianne Agulhon from France (1991 World K1W Team Champion). The course is approved by Jean-Michel Prono the ICF Chief Judge.

The Olympic athletes do not have the opportunity to practice on the course and so today there will be demonstration runs from other elite slalom paddlers in each of the classes. This will be eagerly watched by the 84 Olympic paddlers, their coaches and managers. They will then go back and review video of these demonstration runs to see what they can learn.

For the heats the paddlers have two separate timed runs on the course, the best of which, including penalties will form the ranking order for the heats. The paddlers will go off at 3-minute intervals. Tomorrow, on day 1 of the canoe slalom Olympic competition we have heats in two of the four classes; C1M and K1M. 

12:30 / 13:12 – Men´s Canoe Single (C1M) - Heats 1st Run

13:20 / 14:14 – Men´s Kayak (K1M) - Heats 1st Run

14:30 / 15:12 – Men´s Canoe Single (C1M) - Heats 2nd Run

15:20 / 16:14 – Men´s Kayak (K1M) - Heats 2nd Run


Progression heats to semi-finals



The athletes go off in reverse ICF World Ranking order in the heats. The top-ranked ICF World ranked paddlers are Matej Benus (SVK:C1M) and Lucien Delfour (AUS:K1M). They will be the last to go in their respective heats tomorrow.

The course is set and demonstrations runs have been completed of the 24 gates, with six red and white upstream gates. This will be the same course for each of the four classes and both of their two runs. As the C1M paddlers are either left or right-handed, the course designers will have ensured that the course is balanced with a similar number of upstream breakout gates on the left side of the course and right as the paddler goes down. There will be a new course set after the heats for the semi-final and final. 

The stadium seating for 8,400 spectators each day will create the most amazing atmosphere. There will be a fierce level of competition among this World class field.

Mike Dawson (NZL:K1M) had this to say about how tight the K1M will be. “There’s a lot of great boats here and they’re all hungry for the medals! I’m sure it’s going to be some great racing during the games.”


Paddlers to watch in C1M

The Olympic medallists competing in Rio are:

  • Sideris Tasiadis (GER) silver London 2012
  • David Florence (GBR) silver Beijing 2008

The World Champions competing in Rio are:

  • David Florence (GBR) – 2013 & 2015
  • Denis Gargaud Chanut (FRA) - 2011

There are seven previous Olympians racing tomorrow; Benjamin Savsek (SLO) pictured above, David Florence (GBR), Takuya Haneda (JPN), Sideris Tasiadis (GER), Ander Elosegi (ESP), Casey Eichfeld (USA) and Alexsandr Lipatov (RUS).

Expect loud support as Felipe Borges represents host nation Brazil

David Florence (GBR) and Casey Eichfeld (USA) who are competing in both the C1M and C2M classes. They will have one day between their individual class heat and C2M heat.

“It's great to know that I'm capable of being the best in the world on my day, but I'm well aware it's going to come down to performing well in Rio”, says World Champion, David Florence (GBR:C1M)


Paddlers to watch in K1M

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The Olympic medallist competing in Rio is:

  • Hannes Aigner (GER) – bronze London 2012

The World Champions competing in Rio are:

  • Jiri Prskavec (CZE) - 2015
  • Peter Kauzer (SLO) – 2009 & 2011
  • Sebastien Combot (FRA) - 2007

There are six previous Olympians racing tomorrow; Peter Kauzer (SLO) pictured above, Hannes Aigner (GER), Mike Dawson (NZL), Michael Tayler (CAN), Kazuki Yazawa (JPN) and Jonathan Akinyemi (NGR).

Expect more loud support as Pedro Goncalves represents host nation Brazil.

“The Brazilian public will be a plus point for us athletes, see 8000 people in the stands cheering will be special! I also believe to be in our climate, feeling comfortable, is going to be very positive’, said Goncalves.


Spectators Guide to the canoe slalom venue

Refer to our previous Spectators Guide to the X-Park Deodoro Whitewater stadium post or Download this excellent Canoe Slalom Official Spectator Guide 


Olympic canoe slalom broadcasting 

There is extensive TV coverage across the Olympic broadcasters. Click here to find your local Olympic canoe slalom broadcaster or check local listings.


Keep tuning in

The blog will continue throughout the Olympic canoe slalom race; bringing you previews and race analysis.

Follow the live Olympic canoe slalom race commentary on Twitter @PlanetCanoe or search hashtag #ICFslalom

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