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IOC shakes up paddling program
More women and fewer men will paddle at the 2012 Olympics, the IOC announced yesterday.
The shakeup drew both cheers and groans from the athletes, trainers and organizers.
"That's great," K.F. said. "The more events for women, the better."
Not everyone was as thrilled. Revisions were announced on the IOC website. In 2012, all men's 500-stroke events will be switched to 200 strokes; a women's 200-stroke will be added. Women will compete in five events and men in 11.
M.O., one of Canada's premier paddlers, predicted the changes will dramatically alter the sport. Some men now paddle in both the 500-stroke and 1,000-stroke events. That will end, he said, because the training required for 200 stroke is different from the training needed to prepare for a 1,000-stroke event.
"You are going to see a lot of specialists in one or the other," O. said after winning his heat in the 500-stroke preliminary. "Maybe it will mean better sessions. I'm not sure. I will have to decide whether to concentrate on one or the other. I don't want to be mediocre in both."