Outdoor Water Races
Canoe/Kayak (Slalom & Sprint)
It seems like everything I have talked about is something that you and your friends can go out and do for fun on a nice summer day. I guess that is why these are the Summer Olympics. When talking about the sports of canoe/kayak this could go one of two ways for you. You could go out on a canoe and maybe take some beers (beers are good) and a fishing pole with your dad or friend and not catch fish and get drunk all day. The other is that you are the adventurous type that likes to go kayaking down rivers where you could possibly die (I recommend not drinking beer for this one). Well in the Olympics it is more of the latter and while you might fall into the water doing these things the people that are competing here are very good at what they do.
How it works: There are two different types to the race which includes the slalom and sprint events. In the sprint there are 12 events and in slalom where the men compete in eight and the women in four and there are four different events where the men compete in three and the women in one. In the men's heat they use both kayak's and canoe's and in the women's events they use only the kayak.
All of the men's races are either 200 meters or 1,000 meters with a various number of athletes in the canoe or kayak. On the women's side they compete in the 200 meter or 500 meter race for sprint and both the men and women compete in 300 meter races for the slalom. For the men they either have one, two or four members for the sprint races and either one or two members for the slalom. On the women's side they will compete with one, two or four members in the sprint and with one member in the lone slalom race.
In the sprint there are heats that are consider the first rounds then they move into the semifinals and final. There are no more than nine "boats" that can compete in each heat and the number of heats is determined by how many entries there are. The first three finishers in each head are moved directly to the finals while the fourth through seventh spots move to the semifinals along with the fastest eighth place finisher.
In the Slalom there are also heats that blend into semifinals and finals. These are run a little differently than the sprints in that each boats have two runs each. They run in order of the finish at the 2011 World Championships. There is no set number of teams that advance as that totally depends on how many teams compete. In the semifinals they use the times from the heat rounds to determine times and the finals runs are the reverse order from the semifinals.
The USA Chances: On the men's side Hungary has 53 total medals but it is Germany who holds the most every gold medals with 20. Hungary has 14 gold medals and Sweden has 12. The United States has 11 medals total and only five golds as they didn't medal in 2008. Germany had six total medals in the 2008 summer games with five other countries earning three medals with Slovakia and Belarus having two golds each. On the women's side
Hungary has 71 total medals and won two golds in 2008. Germany has 29 golds all-time and will be a force and the favorite as they had eight total medals in 08 with three golds.
Rowing is no joke. I know you may think that it is just a thing where you get into a boat a paddle for a little bit you are really kidding yourself. Not only do you need upper body strength to actually row the boat but something that people forget about is that you use your legs a ton when you row and you need to be just as strong there as you do with your arms and chest.
How it works: I am not going to even pretend to know what the hell is going on with how rowing works. When I was looking into this I just thought your rowed a long time and the winner is the winner. Like one race with one winner. Boy, was I naive.
Evidently there is two types of rowing events which are sweep and scull. The difference is that in sweep each athlete only has one row to work with and then use that on one side of the boat while in scull each athlete has two rows which they use. There are 14 total events in rowing with eight of them coming via the scull and the other six via the sweep.
Each race is 2,000 meters with different members in the boat for each of the different events.
For each of the events they are broker down into rounds, finals and what is called repechage. Basically the repechage is the "second chance" for the teams that lose in the competition the first time around. Basically the rounds turn into a double elimination tournament.
The USA Chances: On the men's side the USA has dominated competition with 69 total medals and 29 gold medals. Last summer games Great Britain took four medals including two golds while Australia had a pair of gold medals also. The USA only had one medal in 2008. On the women's side Romania has 29 medals with 17 golds to dominate everyone while the USA has 15 total medals with two golds.
Honestly if I didn't know a ton about rowing before doing there preview then I knew even less about sailing. I mean obviously you are riding a boat but other than that not a lot of people probably know what is going on and that includes me.
How it works: There are ten events that take place under the sailing umbrella that use eight different kinds of boats. This has been a men's sport before this year where the women are breaking into the sport for the first time. The women compete in four of the ten events while the men compete in the six others.
Basically the boats, for the most part, race against each other in the opening series with the top ten performers going to the finals to fight for a medal for the men's competition. . There are ten races in what is called the "opening series" where the boats will get points for how they finish. Th points get added up and the top-10 performers go on to the finals. In the finals where the points are worth double that they are in the opening series.
In the women's matches they are a little different. They actually pair up and race off in a tournament style where the boats race against another boat. The event starts with round robin matches where every team will face-off against the other with the top eight teams of the 12 that are competing move on. After that it is a single elimination contest the rest of the way.
The USA Chances: I literally have no idea who is supposed to win so I will just go with overall medal count. The United States leads everyone with 59 total medal with 19 of them going for gold. While the USA has the top medal count it is Great Britain who has the most golds with 23. Norway has 17 golds and France has 13.