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September 19, 2000

Thirty medal events will take place at Penrith Lakes over two separate water courses, designed and built specifically for the Olympics. The equipment varies from race to race, but similar energy is required for all--strong arms and big lungs.


Gates are hung from posts on the banks.

Green gates must be passed through in the direction of the current, red gates against the current.

A 2-second penalty is assessed for touching a gate, 50 seconds for a missed gate.

Slalom course

Length: 300 meters

Width: 8-12 meters

Depth: 1-2 meters

Water: Wild. Five giant pumps force water from the lower pond to the upper pond and out onto the course at a rate of 500 cubic feet per second creating a series of river-like rapids. Elevation drops 18 feet.

Course: Single course with 20-25 gates (6 upstream) for one- and two-person teams. Competitors race against the clock.

Details: For canoes and kayaks. Times from two runs are combined. Lowest total wins.

Medals: 4 (men 3, women 1)

Boats and paddles

Kayak: Enclosed around waist of seated paddler. Paddle has a blade on each end. One person only.

Canoe: Longer, narrower than kayak. Paddle has a blade on one end, a grip handle at the other.

Shell: Oars pivot in fixed oarlocks.

Two types: Scull has two oars per rower, one on each side; Sweep oar has one oar per rower, on one side only. For long sprints only.

Rowers face backward.

Sprint course

Length: 2,300 meters

Width: 130 meters

Depth: 5 meters

Water: Calm

Courses: 6, 9 and 12 lanes over 200-, 500-, 1,000- and 2,000-meter courses. One-, two-, four- and eight-person teams.

Details: Use canoes, kayaks and shells (rowing events); all are longer and narrower than slalom boats. Canoes are open and paddled from a keeling position. Banks of the course are slightly sloped and rock coated to absorb wave action and keep water flat.

Medals: Canoe and kayak: 12 (men 9, women 3)

Rowing: 14 (men 8, women 6)


Canoe/Kayak: Today, Sept. 25-30; Rowing: Today through Saturday

Sources: Olympic Architecture 2000; U.S. Olympic Committee; Sydney Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games; Associated Press

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