Olympic Canoeing, Women, Gender Equality & IOC Quotas

Olympic Canoeing, Women, Gender Equality & IOC Quotas

The IOC established caps (or quotas) on the number of athletes & events on all Sports.

Monday January 18th, 2016

The IOC established caps on the number of athletes & events (“quotas”) on all Sports. For 2020, the caps  on the number of sports and disciplines were lifted, however, the caps on the # of athletes will remain the same as Rio 2016.  Caps are a method to control costs of the Olympics.  (note that much of the costs associated with the Olympic Games are not associated athletes).

Canoe Collage

See our February 2014 article on Women's Canoe and Olympic inclusion.

The 2012 and 2016 Olympic Canoeing (or "Canoe/Kayak") quota remains at 330 athletes, with 16 total events for Sprint and Slalom.  Similar multi-discipline, multi-equipment sports like Cycling & Rowing have 530 & 550 athlete quotas spots, respectively.   (See Rio 2016 Olympic Quotas for Slalom; See Rio 2016 Olympic Quotas for Sprint). 

Canoe/Kayak is woefully under-represented on the Olympic Program. In the1992 Barcelona Games both Sprint and Slalom were included and approximately 440 athletes participated. Approximately 451 athletes completed in the 1996 Atlanta Games, but in 2000, the ICF's athlete spots dropped back to 330, the same level as the 1972 Munich Games.

How and why did the Sport lose 121 spots?  So, for 2016, the Sport has 330 and, it appears this quota will remain for 2020.  This will continue to pit men against the women.

Canoe Chart

[Note:  "Canoeing" is the International Olympic Committee and International Canoe Federation name for the sport, however, this is international language referring to both kayak AND canoe.  This is always a source of confusion for the public and we continue to ask for a name change to "Canoe/Kayak"]

Many argue for petitioning the IOC to increase the # of athlete spots. We do not disagree, but no one is presenting what the Sport looks like "right-sized" for equality and balance between canoe and kayak.

Agree or disagree about the ICF adding 3 Women’s Canoe events for 2020 and eliminating 3 men's events, for now, events must be eliminated for events to be added.

Do not blame women canoeists for this loss of men's events.  It is not women canoeists' fault that none of the Olympic Pie was available to them for the past 80 years.

If the Olympic Charter were front and center since 1924 or 1936, we would not be having this conversation.  But we are where we are and the ICF is at least moving the sport in the direction of more gender equality. What is still missing from the Olympic Program?

  • women still race half the distance as the men (500m vs 1000m)
  • there are more kayak events than canoe events (8 to 4)
  • there are still no C4 (4 person canoe) events.

Perhaps for 2024.

Lastly, female canoeists still only have 2 events at the Senior Sprint World Championships (all other Olympic classes have 8) and 2 events at the Senior Slalom World Championships (men's canoe has 3). Women need equitable opportunities and access to the same resources in order to achieve expected levels of performance.  In just 5 years, women canoeists have proven that they can do much with very little.

#WomensCanoe #Tokyo2020 #1StepCloser #AmazingAwaits

"The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play."  "Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement." ~Olympic Charter.

“…we cannot ignore the potential effects of continued gender discrimination throughout this Olympic cycle, and what standing still represents to those that participate in, invest in and observe our sport in the Olympic Games.”  ~Richard Fox, Performance Director for Australian Canoeing, former 2nd Vice President International Canoe Federation, for Olympian and 10-time World Champion Slalom Kayak for Great Britain.

#WomensCanoe  #GenderEquality  #1StepCloser  #Tokyo2020  #OlympicCharter  #Vision2020

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