Rio Olympic Sprint Canoe Progression System Explained


August 11, 2016

What is race progression?

Race progression is the technical term for the system that determines if an athlete's result qualifies them for the next round of racing (Heats, Semi-finals or Finals) or not.

The progression system makes sure everyone gets a chance to prove themselves on the water. The more boats, the more races in total, the more complicated the system.

The number of heats, semifinals and finals depends on the total number of competitors in the race category. Each single race has up to 8 paddlers who compete within the race, and also against the clock.

Generally speaking, it's a case of the 1st, 2nd placed athletes in each Heat move up to the Semifinal. If there are more spaces left in the Semifinal then the remaining places are filled by 3rd placed athlete from each race, in order of fastest qualifying time. Then the 4th placed athletes in order of the fastest, and so on, until all the race is full. The rest are eliminated.

If there are more than 11 boats, there will be two Finals. The A finals represents the fastest 8 qualifying athletes; the B Final is the 8 best of the rest.

Say whaaaa?

It gets complicated very quickly! So we have made these hand diagrams of the possible progressions for the NZ Olympic Kayak Team's races.

Progression Chart for Sprint Canoe race at Rio Olympics 22 athletes

Progression Chart for Sprint Canoe race at Rio Olympics 28-32 athletes: 

Lisa Carrington in WK1 200m and WK1 500m

Heats: 6th or higher go though to Semifinal

Semifinals: 1st and 2nd plus two best 3rd place times – go to A final

Finals: A Final rank 1st to 8th
 

Progression Chart for the Mens K1 1000m Race (22 athletes)

Progression Chart for Sprint Canoe race at Rio Olympics 20-24 athletes: Marty McDowell in the Mens K1 1000m

Optimum Progression for Marty McDowell

Heats: 5th or higher go though to Semifinal

Semifinals: 1st to 4th – go to A final
5th to 8th – go to B Final

Finals: A Final rank 1st to 8th
B Final rank 9th to 16th

 

WK4 500m race progression chart

Progression Chart for Sprint Canoe race at Rio Olympics 12-16 athletes:
WK4 Team Aimee Fisher, Kayla Imirie, Jaimee Lovett and Caitlin Ryan in the WK4 500m Race

Optimum Progression for NZ WK4 Team

Heats: 1st goes straight through to A Final
Rest to Semifinals

Semifinals: 1st to 3rd – go to A final
5th to 7th – go to B Final

Finals: A Final rank 1st to 8th
B Final rank 9th to 14th

 

Lane allocation

The centre lanes, numbers 4 and 5, are taken by the highest world ranking competitors, with the rest filled randomly. In subsequent races, the centre lanes are taken by the fastest qualifiers.

Lanes are 5m wide and paddlers must stay 5 meters away from their competitors at all times.

 

Hopefully this helps explain when yo need to cheer harder. Go the Kiwis!

 




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