History will be made in Tokyo next week when the canoe slalom competition kicks off at the Olympics, no matter who wins or who takes part.

For the first time ever, women will compete in canoe. And for the first time, there will be equal men’s and women’s events.

A record 34 countries will contest the canoe slalom, eclipsing the previous best of 30 countries set at both the Rio and London Olympics. History will also be made with the first competitors from Mexico and Chinese Taipei taking part.

There is also a strong chance for the first time a single athlete could win two medals, with more than 10 women entered in both the kayak and canoe competitions. Australia’s Jessica Fox, already a two-time Olympic medalist, is favourite for the canoe gold and will be expected to medal in the kayak.

Brazil’s Ana Satila and Andorra's Monica Doria Vilarrubla talk about the challenges of competing in both canoe and kayak

For the first time, a male athlete will attempt both the canoe and kayak, with Russia’s Pavel Eigel entered in the two events.

New Olympic champions will be crowned in three of the four events, with only one previous slalom gold medalist taking to the water in Tokyo. Spain’s Maialen Chourraut will defend the women’s kayak gold she won in Rio.

The men’s canoe and kayak title holders from Rio both failed to qualify for Tokyo. Great Britain’s Joseph Clarke (K1) lost his selection battle to Bradley Forbes-Cryans, while France’s Denis Gargaud Chanut (C1) lost a tough selection contest to Martin Thomas.

The canoe slalom competition begins on Sunday at the Kasai Centre, with heats in the men’s canoe and the women’s kayak. The first medals will be decided on Monday with the men’s canoe final.

A full canoe slalom media guide for the Tokyo Olympics can be found here.

Learn about all our canoe slalom athletes entered in Tokyo 2020 Olympics


    • Women’s C1 will make its Olympic debut. 22 women have entered.
    • 34 countries will compete in canoe slalom in Tokyo – the highest number ever (the previous highest was 30 countries in Rio and London)
    • Two countries – Mexico and Chinese Taipei – will be making their Olympic canoe slalom debut.
    • Andorra, Sweden and Ukraine will be at their second Olympics.
    • There will be 82 athletes competing.
    • Only one Olympic champion from Rio 2016 – Spain’s Maialen Chourraut in the women’s K1 – will be back to defend her title.
    • Nine athletes will compete in both the K1 and the C1. Russia’s Pavel Eigel is the only male athlete entered in both.
    • 17-year-old American Evy Leibfarth will be the youngest competitor.
    • Rio gold medalist Maialen Chourraut is the oldest athlete in the competition at 38.
    • Five athletes – Maialen Chourraut (Spain), Peter Kauzer (Slovenia), Takuya Haneda (Japan), Ander Elosegi (Spain) and Luuka Jones (New Zealand) – will be competing at their fourth Olympic Games.

The full Tokyo 2020 slalom schedule can be found here



Canoe Slalom