The 2020 Olympic Program will be event-based, including a focus on gender equity and mixed gender events.
To be clear: Our #1 priority is inclusion of and equality for Women’s Canoe events. Our #2 priority is preservation of the Canadian Canoe discipline and balancing out the program between kayak and canoe and men and women across the spectrum.
Our Sport began as exhibition on the Olympic program in 1924 – 3 men’s sprint kayak events and 3 men’s sprint canoe events. In 1936, the IOC officially added “Canoeing” (canoe and kayak) to the Olympic program – however, there were 6 sprint kayak events and only 3 canoe events. There has been an imbalance from the beginning in the # of events, the type of events (no C4 – 4 person canoe, but there is K4) and of course lack of gender equality.
Slalom was included in 1972 – Men’s and Women’s K1, and Men’s C1 and C2. No women’s canoe. Slalom was dropped after ’72 then reinstated in 1992 – still with no women’s canoe.
The International Canoe Federation now has an opportunity to make this right in 2020 with more flexibility with events. They must fight for our Sport and ensure equal access and opportunities for women athletes and women in leadership positions.
The ICF also must ensure “universality” – that this is truly a global sport, with global participation in decision-making.
And while they are fighting – we request again to make the name more clear. Olympic “Canoeing” is the official name but it stands for both canoe and kayak. The ICF has been able to hide behind this name for 90 years and deceive the public, including the media.
There are technically “women canoeists” – but they are all kayakers. This is one of the main reasons journalists ignored this as a story.
“Olympic Canoe/Kayak” would be a more accurate and appropriate name.
Some of the IOC’s next steps include talking with International Federations regarding events to be added and cut.
We will keep you updated as we know more.
The Olympic Charter is clear:
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, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.
Belonging to the Olympic Movement requires compliance with the Olympic Charter and recognition by the IOC.