Fun Paddling is Fast Paddling

Fun Paddling is Fast Paddling

Speed wins in paddling. At the Olympics, the fastest paddlers are present and primed for racing! Since the debut of canoeing at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games canoeing has only become faster. The Tokyo 2021 Olympics will be no different. There will definitely be some seriously fast lefts and rights pulling on the water at the Sea Forest Waterway.

This year at Tokyo, is the first year that there will be an equal number of events and quotas for both men and women for the first time. Definitely something to celebrate! And to the guys who’ve missed out on the men’s C1 200m and K2 200m we’ll see you at the World Cups and World Championships.

At these Olympic and world level events we are all used to seeing the times that these athletes lay down. But just how fast are they going? For those of us more accustomed to competing in the local club time trial, we thought we’d translate these feats of paddling into terms of speed to highlight these awesome performances and save you doing the math. We believe that every amateur paddler should know the benchmark to be the best and be on the watch out for these times being broken at these Olympics.

Below are your countries fastest paddlers across each Olympic distance, their times and the speeds as an average over the event distance.

Let us know in the comments who you think will be the fastest paddlers and which events these athletes will set new Olympic Best (OB) or World Records (WR) times at these Olympics?

Fastest Female Olympic Canoe and Kayakers:

Olympic Best sprint canoe times by women

Fastest Male Olympic Canoe and Kayakers:

Olympic Best sprint canoe times by men


Whether you paddle surfski, sprint or marathon kayaks there are benefits to adding resistance training to your paddling. Check out this blog on resistance training to increase your paddling speed to be closer to the Olympic sprint canoeists. 




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  • Kieran Babich
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