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Canoe / Kayak (Olympic sport since 1936)

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  The history of the canoe and kayak has been traced back thousands of years to when natives used these craft to hunt, fish and travel. Canoes were used mainly by the native North and South American Indians along with the Polynesian islanders of the Pacific. They were propelled through the water by single-bladed paddles usually made from wood.

  The earliest known archaeological evidence of a canoe was unearthed at the tomb of a Sumerian king near the Euphrates River. This relic is estimated to be around 6000 years old. The counterpart of the American Indian canoe is the kayak which was introduced by Eskimos many years ago. These people inhabited the land to the far north of the American continent and Greenland.

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