21 Marzo 2024

The International Canoe Federation has praised the sustainability of the Canoe Slalom venue used during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after it played host to the Pan American qualifier for Paris 2024. 

ICF President Thomas Konietzko and ICF Vice President Cecilia Farias were in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to see the Pan American Canoe Slalom Championships. 

The event, staged from March 15 to 17, doubled up as a qualifier for this year’s Olympics as Brazil, Mexico and Canada all earned Canoe Slalom quotas. 

Competition took place at the Deodoro Olympic Whitewater Stadium that was constructed ahead of Rio 2016. 

The venue forms part of the Deodoro Radical Park and is used throughout the year as a training base for Brazil’s Canoe Slalom team and a public swimming pool thanks to a partnership between the Brazilian Canoe Confederation (CBCa) and the Rio de Janeiro City Government. 

During their visit to the Deodoro Olympic Whitewater Stadium, Mr Konietzko and Dr Farias met with Brazilian Olympic Committee President Paulo Wanderley and CBCa President Rafael Girotto. 

“This is one of the most sustainable venues from the Rio 2016 Olympics with the best legacy of all,” said Mr Konietzko. 

Rio 2016 Canoe Slalom venue

“This venue is a public swimming pool used by the city’s citizens. 

“It is part of a bigger recreational park, so the citizens can use it for swimming. 

“The whitewater course is also used for high-performance training and there are school projects running there. 

“The message from the City of Rio de Janeiro is that they want the course to be used by European teams for training camps in the winter season in Europe. 

“I met with the NOC President together with Dr Farias and the President of the Brazilian Canoe Confederation and he said it was one of the best role models for legacy from the Games.”

The ICF’s strategic vision, as outlined in its Fit For Future plan, places significant emphasis on leveraging whitewater venues to contribute to sustainable development goals.

These venues play a crucial role in generating revenue, promoting citizen welfare and accelerating climate and environmental objectives.

Mr Konietzko also met with Rafael Picciani, State Secretary of Sport and Leisure for Rio de Janeiro, and Guilherme Schleder, Municipal Sports Secretary and State Representative for Rio de Janeiro. 

Mr Girotto said the popularity of Canoe Slalom had “improved significantly” since Rio staged the Olympic Games eight years ago. 

“Canoe Slalom has become more popular among Brazilians since the Rio Games, with slalom athletes becoming nationally known not only within the canoeing community but also among the Brazilian people,” said Mr Girotto. 

Rio 2016 Canoe Slalom venue

“They have been invited to participate in television programmes, podcasts, commercials, and even TV series. 

“I believe this is largely due to the athletes’ performances but also to the sport’s increasing popularity following the Rio Games. 

“The facilities are used daily by the Brazilian Canoe Slalom team for training, as well as by the local community. 

“During weekdays, hydro-gymnastics and swimming classes are offered to the population and, on weekends, it functions as a public pool open to the entire community. 

“All of this happens through a partnership between the CBCa and the Rio de Janeiro City Government.” 

Mr Girotto also hailed the success of last weekend’s Pan American Olympic qualifier in Rio which was televised on Globo. 

“The event was broadcast live on national television which not only generated significant media coverage but also exposed our sport to millions of people,” added Mr Girotto. 

“Throughout the event, we also received various authorities such as municipal and state sports secretaries, the National Sports Secretary, the President and the Board of the Brazilian Olympic Committee. 

“I believe this is a good indication of the growing importance that canoeing is gaining in Brazil.” 

Check out the ICF's Whitewater Venues - Advancing Urban Sustainability report by clicking here

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Canoe Slalom