After racing in the Olympics in Tokyo, the world’s best sprint paddlers won’t be done. The paddling continues at the 2021 ICF Canoe Sprint Super Cup being held as part of the four-day Oklahoma Paddlesport Festival at RIVERSPORT in Oklahoma City, Okla., on August 21.
Open to spectators unlike the Olympics, the sprint event will highlight the weekend extravaganza, which is also packed with clinics and other activities. It will feature canoe and kayak world champions and Olympians from Tokyo and will be internationally televised in Europe and China.
“We’re extremely excited and proud that Oklahoma City will host the ICF’s Canoe Sprint Super Cup,” said Simon Toulson, the ICF’s secretary general. “This event brings together the best athletes in our sport to race for cash prizes, with the night finals slated to be quite unique. We’re indebted to RIVERSPORT and other event supporters to persevere through the pandemic to host it.”
“To host this international competition right after the Olympics is a huge honor,” added Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt. “This event will feature the world’s greatest sprint paddlers competing under the lights on television at one of the world’s greatest venues for canoe/kayak. We want people to show up and give them the cheers they deserve to hear.”
The weekend will also include an Extreme Slalom demonstration event Friday Aug. 20 at 7 p.m., featuring four competitors sliding off a two-meter-high ramp side-by-side and racing through gates; as well as the 800-meter, Super Cup Sprint Portage race on Saturday at 10 a.m., which includes racers paddling, running with their boats and then re-entering the water to finish the race.
The event will also include a World Party Friday night from 7-10 p.m., the American Canoe Association (ACA) 2021 Slalom and Sprint National Championships, and the USO Experience, a three-day expo event designed to attract military and their families.
“It’s unique in the world for a city to have both flatwater sprint and whitewater slalom in the same venue,” said Mike Knopp, executive director of RIVERSPORT. “We’re looking forward to sharing this with paddling enthusiasts around the globe. This is a unique opportunity to see Olympic and World Champions in some of the most exciting races ever staged.”
Originally slated for 2020, the ICF Super Cup event was postponed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The inaugural ICF Super Cups were held in Barnaul, Russia, and Linyi, China, in 2019, and attracted Olympians and world champions from all corners of the globe.
—By Izzy Rillos