Olympic canoe sprint races feature athletes racing head-to-head to cross the finish line first. The 2012 Olympic races, which are scheduled to be contested from Aug. 6-Aug. 11, 2012, will feature powerful athletes racing across flat courses in an effort to finish with the fastest time.
Listed below are ten terms to help casual fans better understand and enjoy the Olympic canoe sprint races in London.
Bow: The term "bow" refers to the front of the boat.
ICF: ICF stands for International Canoe Federation. The International Canoe Federation is the international governing body for Olympic canoe events, including canoe sprint and canoe slalom.
Five-Meter Rule: The five-meter rule states that boats cannot come within five meters of one another. The rule was created to prevent boats from drafting off of one another.
Paddler: A paddler is the athlete in the canoe.
River Left: The term "river left" refers to the water on the left side of the paddler's boat as the athlete races downstream.
River Right: Likewise, the term "river right" refers to the water on the right side of the paddler's boat as the athlete races downstream.
Start Gate: The start gate is where the boat sits until the race begins. In the start gate, the bow of the boat is situated within a boot.
Stern: The term "stern" refers to the back of the boat.
Stroke Rate: The term "stroke rate" refers to the number of paddle strokes an athlete takes each minute.
Ride the Wash: When an athlete rides the wash, he or she positions the boat in the wake of another boat. The boat is positioned in such a way that the second boat rides along or drafts off of the first boat. Because of the five-meter rule, riding the wash is illegal in canoe sprint races.
Sandra Johnson is a longtime Olympic fan. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46.
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- International Canoe Federation