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Canoeing at the 1972 München Summer Games

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Host City: München, West Germany
Date Started: August 28, 1972
Date Finished: September 9, 1972
Events: 11

Participants: 330 (274 men and 56 women) from 30 countries
Youngest Participant: FRG Gisela Grothaus (17 years, 192 days)
Oldest Participant: CIV Daniel Sedji (45 years, 144 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): ROU Ivan Patzaichin (2 medals)
Most Medals (Country): GDR East Germany and URS Soviet Union (6 medals)


There was no change in the flatwater canoeing program in 1972, with the same two women's events and same five for men that had been held in 1964-68. Women contested kayak singles and doubles over 500 metres. All men's events were over 1,000 metres with three kayak events (singles, doubles, fours) and two Canadian canoe events (singles, doubles).

But the big change to the 1972 Olympic canoeing program was the addition of slalom (or whitewater) events for men and women. Women's contested a kayak slalom singles, while men had three slalom events – kayak singles, Canadian singles, and Canadian doubles. It was only an ephemeral change, as whitewater canoeing was removed from the Olympic Program after the 1972 Olympics, only to return in 1992, which seems permanent. Whitewater canoeing first began in Switzerland on the Aar River in 1933. World championships in whitewater (slalom) canoeing begin in 1949.

The whitewater canoeing in 1972 was held at a specially constructed [facility in Augsburg], Bavaria. After the facility was built, the German Democratic Republic (GDR / East Germany) sporting authorities built a precise replica in Zwickau which was used to train their paddlers. GDR canoeists won all four gold medals in slalom canoeing in München.

The 1972 flatwater canoeing events were contested at the [Olympic Regatta Course] in Oberschleißheim, a section of München, which also hosted the 1972 rowing competition. The course is still in use and continues to host many events.