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SIGN OUR PETITION: Lift the Ban on Women’s Canoeing at the Olympics for Rio 2016
May 4th, 2013NewsWomenCAN Intl 9 Comments

2012 Sophie Cordelier C1 Ros L WC 1 c2W 


SEE 2013 May 11 Petition Comments – Almost 600 as of May 11, 2013!

History: The sport of Canoe/Kayak was introduced as a Sprint (flatwater) sport in the Olympics in 1924 – with Kayak and Canoe events for men only. Women’s Sprint Kayak was added in 1948. Slalom (whitewater) was introduced in 1972 as the second discipline and included men’s kayak and canoe and women’s kayak. The Slalom discipline was dropped after the ’72 Olympics then reinstated in 1992.

In the 2012 Olympics, both disciplines were represented with men competing in a total of 6 Kayak events (5 Sprint and 1 Slalom) and 5 Canoe events (3 Sprint and 2 Slalom), and women in 5 Kayak events (4 Sprint and 1 Slalom). There are still no women’s canoe events.

Why the Ban? The International Canoe Federation (ICF) has stated that Women’s Canoe is not developed enough for Olympic competition. However, despite only two women’s canoe events offered at the World level for the last 2 years in each discipline, there are approximately 36 countries total, representing 4 continents, with women Sprint Canoeists competing and developing at various levels. There are approximately 33 countries total, also representing 4 continents, with women Slalom Canoeists competing and developing.

C1 European champ 2011 Aus Nat Isabella Choate 12 yr old C1W france fatima c1 b c2 iran cze lubors daughter

Some ICF members claim that women have only been paddling for only a short time. In fact, paddling canoes has been a mode of transportation, a means of gathering food, and a recreational outlet for women and their families for centuries. Additionally, women have been paddling competition canoes since the early 1900’s. Officials have suggested that Canoe will damage women’s health, since Canoeists only paddle on one side of the body in a kneeling position. There is no medical evidence to support this claim, and the IOC Medical Commission released a statement in April 2011 dispelling this myth.

Potential for Greatness: The quantity and quality of Women Canoeists will continue to improve exponentially as athletes are given access to the same opportunities and environment for success that their male teammates have enjoyed for almost 90 years. The Olympic Games is the grandest stage for the sport of Canoe/Kayak. Women Sprint and Slalom Canoe athletes are ready and eager to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Proposal: Lift the ban on women in Olympic Canoeing by adding five (5) Canoe events for Women to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The ICF must petition the IOC now to add these five women’s canoe events to Rio 2016. We expect the ICF to live by the credo in the Olympic Charter: “The practice of sport is a human right”.

More Information: Contact WomenCAN International at


2013 S Am championships podium













'9 Responses to “SIGN OUR PETITION: Lift the Ban on Women’s Canoeing at the Olympics for Rio 2016”'
  1. D. Turner says:

    Just cannot believe that women’s canoeing is NOT already an Olympic event! Mens canoeing has been included since 1936, so what exactly is the problem? Women are human beings with the right to be included in Games, according to your own mandate. Especially when they have an equally high standard to pass and huge PUBLIC funds are involved with every Olympic Games!! Disgraceful discrimination like this is also terrible optics. In protest, many will opt to shun the Olympics entirely.

  2. Max Gallant says:

    Wemon should be allowed to compete at the olympics..

  3. Ev Velazquez says:

    Based on the Olympics Charter, I always believed that gender discrimination in Olympic Sport, was ILLEGAL! Why then are female elite canoeists EXCLUDED from the sport of canoeing, when they meet the high criteria & qualifications, while their male counterparts in this event are included & funded by tax payers? How many more decades will it take for the IOC and the ICF to move out of the ice age and into the 21st Century? I will be boycotting ALL Olympic, Paralympic and Pan Am Games until this ban is lifted and female canoeists are included, and I advise everyone else who cares about honour, justice, principles and equality in sport to do the same!!

  4. Rod Clark says:

    Let them paddle, in the modern era how can we treat women like this!

  5. Pete Coggan says:

    All, let’s keep in mind that with the Olympic Committee’s “equity rules”, many boating sports have LOST categories by not having a women’s class. If you want to lose men’s C1 & C2, by all means, keep the dubs (W’s) out…

  6. Alison Graham says:

    I paddled back in the 90’s and women were not a allowed to compete. I met wonderful woman paddlers who were exceptional. If they allow pro athletes to compete which is an issue with me as well then I feel women should be allowed in any sport.

  7. Lewie Miya says:

    All sports must be available separately for men and women.

  8. monica Hoveland says:

    This is not the dark ages.. Women should be given the opportunity to compete in this sport during the Olympics.. We should be ashamed that this is the length that has to be taken to make these changes.

  9. susan huber says:

    I still cannot believe this,,,if a man is in a sport why can’t a women be included….? There should be no discrimination whatsoever….for whatever reason! I agree with all the above comments. I have been fighting for these rights since I was little girl..I played on all the boys’ teams until secondary school. I never had any problems.. from anyone….. we had a lot of fun..and I learned a lot from the boys that still carry over 50 years later….

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