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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
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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 h1r1/2 Helga Hellebrand-Wiedermann 25 Austria AUT
5 h2r1/2 Eila Eskola-Kyröläinen 25 Finland FIN