ICF hails legacy of Rio 2016 venue after hosting Olympic qualifier. ICF

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) has praised the sustainability of the Canoe Slalom venue used during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after it hosted the Pan American qualifier for Paris 2024.

ICF President Thomas Konietzko and ICF Vice President Cecilia Farias were in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to attend the Pan American Canoe Slalom Championships. The event took place from 15 to 17 March at the Deodoro Olympic Whitewater Stadium, which was built in the run-up to Rio 2016. It doubled as a qualifier for the Paris Olympics, with Brazil, Mexico and Canada all won canoe slalom quotas. The venue is part of the Deodoro Radical Park and is now used the year as a training base for the Brazilian Canoe Slalom team and as a public swimming pool, thanks to a partnership between the Brazilian Canoe Confederation (CBCa) and the city of Rio de Janeiro. 

During their visit to the Deodoro Olympic Whitewater Stadium, Thomas Konietzko and Cecilia Farias met with the President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, Paulo Wanderley, and the President of the CBCa, Rafael Girotto. 

"This is one of the most sustainable venues of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with the best legacy of all. This venue is a public swimming pool used by the citizens of Rio. It is part of a larger recreational park, so the citizens can use it for swimming," said Konietzko. 

Part of the Deodoro Radical Park is used as a public swimming pool. ICF
Part of the Deodoro Radical Park is used as a public swimming pool. ICF

"The whitewater course is also used for high performance training and there are school projects running there. The message from the city of Rio de Janeiro is that they want the course to be used by European teams for training camps during the winter season in Europe. I met with the president of the NOC, along with Dr Farias and the president of the Brazilian Canoe Federation, and he said it was one of the best examples of a legacy from the Games," he added. 

The ICF's strategic vision, as outlined in its Fit For Future plan, places strong emphasis on the use of whitewater venues to contribute to sustainable development goals. These venues play a vital role in generating revenue, promoting citizen wellbeing and accelerating climate and environmental goals. 

Konietzko also met with Rafael Picciani, Rio de Janeiro's Secretary of State for Sport and Recreation, and Guilherme Schleder, Rio de Janeiro's Municipal Secretary of Sport and State Representative.

The Deodoro Olympic Whitewater Stadium in Rio is in perfect condition. ICF
The Deodoro Olympic Whitewater Stadium in Rio is in perfect condition. ICF

Girotto said the popularity of Canoe Slalom had "improved significantly" since Rio hosted the Olympic Games eight years ago. "Canoe Slalom has become more popular among Brazilians since the Rio Games, with slalom athletes becoming nationally known not only within the canoeing community but also among the Brazilian people," he stressed. 

"They have been invited to participate in TV shows, podcasts, commercials, and even TV series. I believe this is largely due to the performance of the athletes, but also to the increasing popularity of the sport following the Rio 2016 Games," Gitotto continued. 

"The facilities are used daily for training by the Brazilian Canoe Slalom team, as well as by the local community. During the week, aqua gym and swimming lessons are offered and at weekends it functions as a public pool open to the entire community. All of this is done through a partnership between the CBCa and the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro," concluded rafael Girotto.