History of canoeing at the Olympics:

Organised canoe and kayak racing began in the mid-19th century, and clubs had formed in London and New York by 1871, while the first women's competition was run in Russia.

Popular in Europe, canoeing was a demonstration Olympic sport at the 1924 Paris Games and flatwater canoeing made its full debut 12 years later in Berlin.

Women paddlers first competed at London 1948 while slalom/whitewater events first appeared in Munich in 1972 but then took another 20 years to reappear in Barcelona.

New Zealand enjoyed a purple patch in the sport in 1984 with four gold medals, three to Ian Ferguson, coming in Los Angeles.

Gold, silver and bronze followed four years later but since then Ben Fouhy's silver at Athens has been the only reward.

For London, flatwater canoeing has changed its name to sprint and explosive 200m events have been added and men's 500m races have been removed.

NZ Newswire

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