HIGHLIGHTS FROM RIO: France’s Denis Gargaud Chanu won an unexpected gold in the men’s canoe slalom in his first Olympics. Slovakia’s Matej Benus earned silver to keep his country’s medal streak alive at six consecutive Games. Bronze medalist Takuya Haneda of Japan was the first paddler from an Asian country to win an Olympic medal in canoe/kayak.
WHAT’S NEW: Women’s canoe single debuts, taking the place of the men’s double canoe.
TOKYO EXPECTATIONS: New gold medalists in men’s canoe and kayak as 2016 winners Chanu and Great Britain’s Joseph Clarke didn’t qualify for Tokyo. Spain’s Maialen Chourrauta returns to defend her women’s kayak gold, competing in her fourth Olympics … Australia’s Jessica Fox is a favorite in the women’s kayak. A previous silver (2012) and bronze (2016) kayak medalist, Fox crushed the field at the World Cup in kayak in June, winning by nearly five seconds … Events will take place at the new Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre.
ATHLETES TO WATCH: Great Britain’s Mallory Franklin is a close second to Fox. Tall and rangy, she uses her length for superior balance and will be a top medal contender. … Evy Leibfarth, 17, will represent the U.S. in both the women’s canoe and kayak … Lukas Rohan of the Czech Republic won gold at the World Cup in June.
GOLD MEDAL MOMENT(S): July 26 men’s canoe; July 27 women’s kayak; July 29 women’s canoe; July 30 men’s kayak.