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Canoe/Kayak

The USA Canoe/Kayak Slalom Selection Committee would like to notify USA Canoe/Kayak members of the probable events to be used in the Olympic and Pan Am Games selection process, prior to the completion and approval of the 2016 Olympic and Pan Am Games selection procedures in order to give athletes an ample amount of time to prepare. 

An athlete will make the US Olympic Team based on earning points, based on their placement at several designated events. The first event to be used in the Slalom Olympic Selection Process will be the 2015 U.S. Slalom Team Trials. The Team Trials date and location will be set in the upcoming months, but will more than likely occur in April/May of 2015 on the east coast. Once an athlete makes the 2015 Team, via the US Slalom Team Trials, those athletes will be eligible to compete at the 2015 Pan American Games and 2015 ICF Slalom World Championships. At these events, eligible athletes will have the opportunity to qualify the USA an Olympic slot in their class for the 2016 Olympic Games and earn points towards their own Olympic selection. The final selection event will occur at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials at a Spring of 2016 date/location to be determined by the summer of 2015. 

A full written and approved selection criteria will be posted to members as soon as the USOC reviews and discusses the criteria. This notice is simply being provided to give athletes the maximum amount of time to prepare for Olympic Selection. The exact events/dates/method are subject to change based upon the feedback/approval of the Olympic and Pan American Games Selection Criteria by the US Olympic Committee.

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In whitewater slalom, athletes have to navigate their canoe or kayak through gates as they work their way through 300m of whitewater rapids in the fastest time possible. Hitting one of the hanging gates or missing one completely results in time penalties which are added to the paddler's time at the end of his or her run. A 2-second penalty is given for a touched gate, and if the gate is missed completely there is a 50-second penalty. There are approximately 18-24 hanging gates for each course. The gates are color-coded to indicate which direction the paddler must pass through. Green gates are negotiated heading downstream while red gates require the paddler to reverse direction and pass through them heading upstream.



Male athletes compete in three classes: Kayak (K1), Single Canoe (C1) and Double Canoe (C2). Women compete in kayak (K1W) and Single Canoe (C1 - World Championships and World Cups).

Whitewater Slalom made its debut during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany and did not reappear until the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain.

Although many whitewater slalom events are still held on natural river courses, there are an increasing number of artificial whitewater courses being constructed and used for international competition around the world. 

The United States National Whitewater Center (http://www.usnwc.org), located outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, is the nation's first fully artificial whitewater course. A training site for many athletes, the U.S. National Whitewater Center was the official site of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Team Trials for whitewater slalom.

Slalom boats have benefited greatly from advancements in technology. They are now lighter, sleeker, and faster. Made from carbon, kevlar and epoxy resin, they are light and stiff but still fragile compared to plastic boats. All slalom boats must meet minimum length and weight requirements. Kayaks have to weigh more than 9 kg (about 20 pounds), be more than 3.5 m (11 feet) long, and 60cm (around 2 feet) wide.