Countdown to the Games
17-25 June 2023


Know your facts:

  • Kayaking has been a sport at Special Olympics World Games since 2003
  • Unified Sports? Yes
  • Estimated number of athletes expected to participate: 44 athletes + 16 Unified partners

Special Olympics Kayaking is a flatwater racing event where athletes compete either on their own or as a pair. Kayaking is one of the newest Special Olympics sports. The aim is to travel through a specific water distance paddling in the best possible time.

Special Olympics feature:

Special Olympics Kayaking uses touristic-type boats and professional boats, while in International Canoe Federation races, athletes only use professional boats. The touristic boats are more stable than professional flat-water racing kayaks.
Additionally, Special Olympics requires all athletes to pass a swimming test before races and requires that everyone wears a lifejacket during race.


We have 7 competitions:

  • Singles Tourist kayak KT-1:
    200m race
    500m race
  • Doubles Tourist kayak KT-2:
    200m race
    500m race
  • Unified Sports® Doubles Tourist kayak KT-2:
    200m race
    500m race
  • Unified Sports® Doubles Professional Kayak K-2:
    500m race

By the way:

In earlier days, seal skin was used to make kayaks waterproof.

The kayaking competitions are free to enter.


"Fans in the Stands" groups can visit the kayaking competitions.

The photo shows kayakist Juliana Rößler after winning the kayaking race during the Special Olympics National Games Berlin 2022, holding her paddle above her head in jubilation.
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The photo shows two kayaks with two athletes each during competition. On one boat are two women and on the other one two men.
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On the photo, there are two happy athletes who lift their arms and paddels after the kayaking competition is finished.
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The photo shows an athlete in action during a Kayaking competition.
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The photo shows two kayaks on the water.
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On the photo, there are two athletes in a kayak. The one up front is raising his fist in joy.
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Kayaking takes place at Grünau.