Whitewater slalom, which was originally modelled on ski slalom, began in Switzerland in 1932. Slalom canoeing had begun on flat water, but soon switched to white water rapids on natural rivers. World War Two set back development, especially from an Olympic point of view, but today both sprint and slalom are established Olympic disciplines.

The sight  of skill, strength and courage pitted against powerful water makes slalom an exciting spectator sport both live and on TV. For the competitor there is the challenge, together with fantastic friendships, cooperation between national teams, and a closeness to the river and the environment.

The first Slalom World Championships were held in 1949 in Geneva. Since then there have been dramatic changes - as folding and rigid canvas canoes have been replaced by composites and rules have been changed and simplified.

In 1992 canoe slalom returned to the Olympic Games, in the fantastic atmosphere under the burning sun of La Seu d´Urgell. There has been a massive increase in interest outside slalom's traditional areas, and slalom is going into the new millennium as a permanent Olympic sport.