Canoe Marathon

Facts

Discipline of Canoeing
Participants 260
NOCs 23
Competitions held 17 (Venues)
Distinct events 6
IF International Canoe Federation

Description

Canoe marathons refers to longer distance flatwater canoe events. At the Olympics, these have only been held over 10,000 metres, although 5,000 metre events were on the program at the World Championships. The two types of canoes used are the kayak, in which the paddler sits inside a covered shell, and the Canadian, in which the paddler kneels on one knee with the top of the canoe open. The Canadian events use a single-bladed paddle, with the paddler alternating sides of the canoe for strokes, while the kayak uses a double-bladed paddle.

The 10,000 metre events were only on the Olympic Program from 1936-56. Races were contested for both kayaks and Canadian canoes, in both singles and doubles, although Canadian singles was not held in 1936. In addition, in 1936 10K events for folding kayaks in singles and doubles were held.

Outside of the Olympics, canoe marathons are very popular and the races are often much longer than 10 km, with races of 30-50 km being common, and some races being 200 km or longer. In addition to kayak and Canadian canoe events, canoe marathons are sometimes contested in outrigger canoes.

The Swedes and Germans were the top nations in this Olympic discipline with the top athlete being Sweden’s Gert Fredriksson, who won three medals in all, with two golds medals in K-1 in 1948 and 1956. Four other athletes won two medals in Olympic 10K races, oddly all winning one gold and one silver medal. These were as follows: Gunnar Åkerlund (SWE), Frank Havens (USA), Hans Wetterström (SWE), and Kurt Wires (FIN).

Canoeing is governed worldwide by the International Canoe Federation (ICF) [in French: Fédération Internationale de Canoë (FIC)], which was founded 1946 in Stockholm. The ICF succeeded the Internationale Repräsentantenschaft Kanusport (IRK), which was created on 19 January 1924 in München, with four founding members: Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Sweden. The ICF had 166 member nations as of November 2019.

All-time medal table

Olympic Games

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
Sweden SWE 4 2 1 7
Germany GER 2 2 4 8
Czechoslovakia TCH 2 1 1 4
Finland FIN 2 1 1 4
United States USA 2 1 1 4
Hungary HUN 1 3 2 6
Austria AUT 1 2 1 4
France FRA 1 2 1 4
Soviet Union URS 1 0 1 2
Romania ROU 1 0 0 1
Canada CAN 0 2 1 3
Norway NOR 0 1 1 2
Australia AUS 0 0 1 1
Netherlands NED 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Gert Fredriksson SWE 2 1 0 3
Kurt Wires FIN 1 1 0 2
Hans Wetterström SWE 1 1 0 2
Gunnar Åkerlund SWE 1 1 0 2
Frank Havens USA 1 1 0 2
Gregor Hradetzky AUT 1 0 0 1
Yrjö Hietanen FIN 1 0 0 1
Thorvald Strömberg FIN 1 0 0 1
Jean Laudet FRA 1 0 0 1
Georges Turlier FRA 1 0 0 1
Ernst Krebs GER 1 0 0 1
Ludwig Landen GER 1 0 0 1
Paul Wevers GER 1 0 0 1
László Fábián HUN 1 0 0 1
János Urányi HUN 1 0 0 1
Leon Rotman ROU 1 0 0 1
Erik Bladström SWE 1 0 0 1
Sven Johansson SWE 1 0 0 1
František Čapek CZE
TCH
1 0 0 1
Václav Mottl CZE
TCH
1 0 0 1
Zdeněk Škrland CZE
TCH
1 0 0 1
Gratsian Botev RUS
URS
1 0 0 1
Pavel Kharin RUS
URS
1 0 0 1
Steve Lysak USA 1 0 0 1
Steve Macknowski USA 1 0 0 1

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Kayak Singles, 10,000 metres Men 4
Kayak Doubles, 10,000 metres Men 4
Canadian Singles, 10,000 metres Men 3
Canadian Doubles, 10,000 metres Men 4
Folding Kayak Singles, 10,000 metres Men 1
Folding Kayak Doubles, 10,000 metres Men 1