Canoeing guide - London 2012 Olympic Games
Your complete guide to canoeing ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
Photograph: Canoeing via Shutterstock
Converted: Wet 'n' wild action!
Confused: I did this at summer camp.
RECOMMENDED: See our full list of London 2012 Olympic sport guides
Canoeing - The essential guide
Street cred: Canoes were trending spectacularly in 2007, when it emerged that a man called John Darwin had faked his own death in a pretend kayak tragedy. Since then, things have been quiet.
Basics: Olympic canoeing consists of two disciplines, slalom and sprint, which are divided into canoe and kayak categories.
• Sprint – a straight race along flat water. There are 12 gold medals available with distances ranging from 200m to 1000m.
• Slalom – a spectacular event also known as white-water canoeing, where paddlers duck and weave through rapids and negotiate a course of 25 gates.
Who’s good? The central and eastern Europeans, such as Slovakia, Germany and Hungary.
Athletes to watch: Multi-gold-medal winning Slovakian twins Pavol and Peter Hochschorner are an imperious pair... imagine if 'Twins' was about two Arnold Schwarzeneggers and no Danny Devitos.
As seen in: 'Deliverance' (1972), although it might put you off the sport for life.
Almost useless fact: The main difference between a kayak and a canoe is that kayak paddles have blades at both ends whereas canoe paddles have a blade at only one end. Glad we've cleared that up.
Do say: 'Canoeing may be a low-profile sport but with so many medals available, success on the water could propel the USA up the overall rankings.'
Don't say: 'I'm really into watersports.'