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Women’s Canoe added to Olympic Canoe Kayak program, bringing gender equity

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Canoe Kayak Canada is pleased to share the news that for the first time in Tokyo 2020, Canoe Kayak Sprint and Slalom will have a gender-balanced Olympic program.Canoe Kayak Canada is pleased to share the news that for the first time in Tokyo 2020, Canoe Kayak Sprint and Slalom will have a gender-balanced Olympic program.

The International Olympic Committee has approved the International Canoe Federation’s proposal for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Program. This program includes women’s canoe events for the first time in Olympic history.

Laurence Vincent-Lapointe – 2017

“I think it is really a good day for women’s canoe,” Laurence Vincent-Lapointe said. Vincent-Lapointe has won seven world championships since women’s canoe was added to the world championship program in 2010, and has just finished a strong world cup performance where the sprint women’s canoe team won a total of 9 medals.

“We finally get the opportunity to be seen as the athletes we are, and get the place we have been waiting for all this time” Vincent-Lapointe said. “ Having just come back from the world cups tour, I have seen many incredible women canoers and I’m proud of what we have all accomplished until now. Now we will all be striving towards the highest form of recognition, the Olympic Games. It is with a lot of emotion that I received this news and I’m happy to share it with everyone who have supported us all this time.”

Women canoers will compete at the Tokyo Olympics in Sprint C-1 200m and C-2 500m, as well as in Slalom C-1.

2020 Canoe Kayak Olympic Program

Men’s Kayak Women’s Kayak Men’s Canoe Women’s Canoe
K1 Slalom
K1 200m
K1 1000m
K2 1000m
K4 500m
K1 Slalom
K1 200m
K1 500m
K2 500m
K4 500m
C1 Slalom
C1 1000m
C2 1000m
C1 Slalom
C1 200m
C2 500m

Haley Daniels – 2016 

“I am proud to say that we will finally be able to follow our dreams to the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020” Haley Daniels, Canada’s top Women’s Canoe Slalom paddler said. “This announcement is history in the making where we can truly say that Canoe Slalom is gender equitable and moving forward.”

Women have a long history of racing canoes of many types in Canada.  Races between women’s war canoes have been a regular fixture at championship regattas as early as the turn of the 20th century.

Yet the road to equal competitive opportunity in the sport has not been short or easy for women’s canoe athletes. Through years of advocacy, and sometimes disappointing setbacks, pioneering athletes, and leaders within the Canoe Kayak Canada community have led the way in the push for equality in the sport.

Canadian marathon nationals were gender equitable across all events from their inception in 1980. The sprint discipline followed by adopting a full women’s canoe race card in 1995, and finally, 2009 saw the inclusion of women’s canoe at the whitewater nationals.

Canoe Kayak Canada led a concerted and sustained push through our representatives at the International Canoe Federation level for gender equity, specifically through the inclusion of women’s canoe events.

Madeleine Hall – 1964

“It has taken 72 years for women to be included as full participants in our sport,” Madeleine Hall, chair of Canoe Kayak Canada’s Sprint Racing Council, said. “Kudos to the International Canoe Federation and the International Olympic Committee for taking this significant step.”

Hall, who was a canoe athlete herself, shared on behalf of Canoe Kayak Canada, a special thank you to our Canadian women canoers who have led the way nationally and internationally.

“You put your hearts and souls into canoeing in spite of its absence at the Olympic Games,” she said. “It is thanks to your skill and excellent performances that this dream has come true. Now enjoy the rest of the road to the Olympic Games!”

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