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Canoeing is making Olympic legacy waves

Canoeing has been announced as the UK's most popular watersport, with over 1.2million adults taking part in the activity each year.

In this amazing year of sport, the public's imagination has been captured by unforgettable moments including GB Canoeing's gold medal winning performances in canoe slalom and sprint, inspiring even more people to take to the water with a paddle

Canoeing is a fun, unique family activity that everyone can enjoy, from budding Olympians to those who simply want to take advantage of the best that Britain's waterways and coastline have to offer.

The BCU (British Canoe Union) canoeing's national governing body, is focused on growing the number of people who regularly take part in the sport and in this year of unparalleled sporting opportunity, the organisation has capitalised on years of work to encourage even more people than ever to take to the water.

A new Olympic legacy initiative called 'Go Canoeing' was launched in the spring of 2012 with the aim of boosting new opportunities for the informal canoeing marketplace. The programme was awarded the coveted London 2012 Inspiremark and offers newcomers and existing paddlers everything from; Starter Sessions, Guided Tours, information about where to go paddling including a range of canoe trails across England and fun mass participation events.

As part of the legacy programme, canoeing was delivered at the specially created live site events prior to the start of the Olympics in 11 cities across England as well as at the School Games. In addition, the Canoe England participation team ran organised opportunities for the general public to try canoeing every day of Olympic competition at Eton Dorney, Lee Valley and at Weymouth (at a Go Canoeing event site) throughout the whole games.

As a direct result of the London 2012 Olympic Games and the BCU's activities, the following was achieved;

  • 35,000 new people were introduced to canoeing in the lead up to and during games time
  • 22,000 people searched for a canoe club on the Canoe England website*
  • 4x increase in numbers of people searching for a local canoe clubs
  • 5x increase in website traffic (compared with non Olympic traffic)
  • 60,000 spectators attended Lee Valley White Water Centre over five days
  • 100,000 spectators attended Eton Dorney for the canoe sprint over five days
  • 2.9 million people tuned in to watch the 200m finals
  • 4.5 million viewers for canoe slalom repeat of C2 final runs
  • The progression of plans for a new Olympic legacy canoe club to be built on the Canoe Slalom Olympic venue, the Lee Valley White Water Centre.

The BCU will continue to build on its well established track record and on its more recent achievements to deliver with commitment and focus; increased, regular participation and Olympic and Paralympic medal success at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

To help us on our journey, we continue to regularly undertake research and analyse customer insight which in turn will be invaluable and equip us to respond to changing market and customer needs effectively.

Forthcoming international events to be hosted by the BCU include:

  • The ICF 2013 Canoe Slalom World Cup - Cardiff, UK
  • The ICF 2015 Canoe Slalom World Championships - Lee Valley White Water Centre, UK