London 2012 slalom canoe: 2nd Google doodle of its kind

London 2012 slalom canoe: 2nd Google doodle of its kind
London 2012 slalom canoe is the second paddle sports related Google doodle featured during the Olympics.

Slalom slalom (whitewater slalom before November 2008) is a competitive sport where the aim is to navigate a decked canoe or kayak through a course of hanging gates on river rapids in the fastest time possible. It is one of the paddle sports related disciplines at the Summer Olympics. The other Olympic canoeing discipline is canoe sprint.

olympics_doodle2.gifPaddle sports general involve two types of boats - canoes and kayaks. Some people use the terms interchangeably, but there are differences between the two.

A kayak differs from a canoe in that the kayak uses a double-bladed (one on each end)  while canoes use a single bladed (one blade at one end and a t-grip at the other) paddle. While canoes are generally open decked, kayaks are generally closed deck there are exceptions, such as wild-water canoes which are closed decked and surf kayaks which are open decked.

A double-bladed paddle allows for more efficient propulsion (higher stroke rate possible, etc.), but is more difficult to use effectively in a wider craft (canoes tend to be wider than kayaks). In some parts of the world kayaks are considered a type of canoe, and open-decked canoes are called "Canadian canoes".

The first paddle sports related Google doodle was during the Sydney Olympic games, when a kangaroo was depicted in kayak. Canoeing at the 2000 Summer Olympics was held at the Sydney International Regatta Centre for the sprint events and the Whitewater Stadium in Penrith for the canoe and kayak slalom disciplines. A total of 16 events were contested, 12 sprint events (9 for men and 3 for women) and 4 slalom events (3 for men and 1 for women). Hungary and Germany dominated the field, winning 4 golds each.

olympics08_rowing.gifThe sport of rowing, though technically not a paddle sport, was featured in a Google doodle during the Beijing Olympics.

The oldest recovered canoe in the world is the Pesse cano found in the Netherlands, believed to have been constructed somewhere between 8200 and 7600 BC. The kayak was first made and used by the native Ainu, Aleut and Eskimo hunters in sub-Arctic regions of northeastern Asia, North America and Greenland.

It will be interesting to see what sport finds its place in Friday's Google doodle.

Olympic Google doodles

For more Google doodles, visit this page.

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