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Canoeing at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games:

Women's Kayak Singles, 500 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: URS Yelizaveta Dementyeva
Silver: GER Therese Zenz
Bronze: DEN Tove Søby


An almost entirely new cadre of women canoeists had developed between the 1952 and 1956 Summer Olympics, among whom [Therese Zenz] was the star in the K-1 500, having won it at the 1954 World Championships. At the 1952 Games (where she finished ninth) and the 1954 Worlds she had represented the French protectorate of Saar (1947-1956), whose athletes were competing under the unified German banner by 1956. Austria’s [Fritzi Schwingl], the 1948 Olympic bronze medalist, had been the runner-up at the most recent World Championships, but her nation was represented by [Helga Hellebrand] in Melbourne. Denmark, meanwhile, sent 1954 World bronze medalist [Tove Søby]. Søby and Zenz were the heat winners in the opening round, with the latter setting an Olympic record in the process. In the final, however, Zenz found herself battling [Yelizaveta Dementyeva] of the Soviet Union for gold and lost the fight, settling for silver instead. Søby followed a few seconds later, claiming bronze.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Yelizaveta Dementyeva 28 Soviet Union URS Gold
2 Therese Zenz 24 Germany GER Silver
3 Tove Søby 23 Denmark DEN Bronze
4 Cecília Hartmann-Berkes 25 Hungary HUN
5 Edith Cochrane Australia AUS
6 Daniela Walkowiak-Pilecka 21 Poland POL
7 Patricia Moody 22 Great Britain GBR
8 Éva Marion 31 France FRA
5 h1 r1/2 Helga Hellebrand-Wiedermann 25 Austria AUT
5 h2 r1/2 Eila Eskola-Kyröläinen 25 Finland FIN