Sport of propelling a lightweight, shallow boat, pointed at both ends, by paddles or sails. Currently, canoes are made from fiberglass, but original boats were of wooden construction covered in bark or skin. Canoeing was popularized as a sport in the 19th century.
Two types of canoe are used: the kayak and the Canadian-style canoe. The kayak, derived from the Eskimo model, has a keel and the canoeist sits. The Canadianstyle canoe has no keel and the canoeist kneels. In addition to straightforward racing, there are slalom courses, with up to 30 “gates” to be negotiated through rapids and around artificial rock formations. Penalty seconds are added to course time for touching suspended gate poles or missing a gate. One to four canoeists are carried. The sport was introduced into the Olympic Games 1936.