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Canoeing at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games:

Men's Kayak Singles, 1,000 metres

Canoeing at the 1956 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Lake Wendouree, Ballarat, Victoria
Date Started: December 1, 1956
Date Finished: December 1, 1956

Gold: SWE Gert Fredriksson
Silver: URS Igor Pisarev
Bronze: HUN Lajos Kiss
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Sweden’s Gert Fredriksson, two-time Olympic (1948 and 1952) and World (1950 and 1954) Champion in the K-1 1000 returned to the Olympics in 1956 as a strong favorite to defend his crown. On the day prior to the event, he had reclaimed the Olympic title in the K-1 10000 that he had won in 1948 and then lost in 1952. One potentially strong challenger was Finland’s Thorvald Strömberg, the reigning Olympic runner-up and a man who had already performed the rare feat of besting Fredriksson in a race twice, by defeating him in the K-1 10000 at both the 1950 World Championships and the 1952 Summer Olympics. Other contenders included Louis Gantois of France, the 1952 Olympic bronze medalist and 1954 World runner-up, and [Lajos Kiss], who was representing the reigning World bronze medalist nation of Hungary.

The opening round, however, brought several surprises. In the first heat, Fredriksson was nearly defeated by the Soviet Union’s Igor Pisarev and managed to eke out a victory by only 0.2 seconds, while Strömberg, suffering from stomach problems, was eliminated. In the next, both Kiss and Gantois were bested by a relatively unknown Stefan Kapłaniak of Poland, although, since every competitor in that heat advanced, it was likely that the others were merely conserving their strength. The final heat had no obvious favorites and was won by Germany’s Ernst Steinhauer, a World Champion in the K-2 500 and bronze medalist in the K-2 10000. In the final, Fredriksson took charge and defeated Pisarev with ease, earning his fifth gold medal and his third straight in the K-1 1000. The Soviet thus settled for silver, while Kiss took bronze a good distance ahead of Kapłaniak, who was fourth.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Gert Fredriksson 37 Sweden SWE Gold
2 Igor Pisarev 25 Soviet Union URS Silver
3 Lajos Kiss 22 Hungary HUN Bronze
4 Stefan Kapłaniak 23 Poland POL
5 Louis Gantois 27 France FRA
6 Ladislav Čepčianský 25 Czechoslovakia TCH
7 Villy Christiansen 21 Denmark DEN
8 Ernst Steinhauer 30 Germany GER
9 Barry Stuart 22 Australia AUS
4 h1r1/2 Knut Østby 34 Norway NOR
4 h3r1/2 David Merwin 20 United States USA
5 h1r1/2 Thorvald Strömberg 25 Finland FIN
6 h1r1/2 Robert Smith 27 Canada CAN