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Canoeing at the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games:

Men's Kayak Singles, 1,000 metres

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Host City: Tokyo, Japan
Venue(s): Lake Sagami, Sagamihara, Kanagawa
Date Started: October 20, 1964
Date Finished: October 22, 1964

Gold: SWE Rolf Peterson
Silver: HUN Mihály Hesz
Bronze: ROU Aurel Vernescu

Summary

Denmark’s Erik Hansen was the reigning Olympic, European, and World Champion in the K-1 1000, making him a strong favorite to defend his title at the 1964 Summer Games. The only major tournament in which he had been bested was the 1961 European Championships, where he placed third behind Carl von Gerber of Sweden and Vasile Nicoară of Romania, neither of whom were competing in the K-1 1000 in Tokyo. Instead, their nations were represented by Rolf Peterson and Aurel Vernescu respectively, the latter of whom was the current European and World runner-up. Non-Olympian Siegfried Rossberg was the most recent European and World bronze medalist, but Germany competed as a unified nation for the final time in 1964 and sent West German Erich Suhrbier instead. The only other major medalist in the tournament was the Soviet Union’s Igor Pisarev, who had been second in the event in 1956. Hungary, the defending Olympic runner-up, sent Mihály Hesz.

In the opening round, the first heat was the most competitive and saw Hansen win it in the fastest time, ahead of Hesz and Peterson. Vernescu bested Suhrbier in the second heat, while Pisarev finished third behind Poland’s Władysław Szuszkiewicz and Great Britain’s Alistair Wilson in a heat where everyone advanced. Szuszkiewicz, in a heat that included Hesz and was won by Günther Pfaff of Austria, was the only one of these men not to advance after the semi-finals. Vernescu and Hansen won the other heats, the latter once again with the round’s fastest time. Considering his performance thus far, Hansen seemed as if he was a shoo-in for gold, but he struggled heavily in the final and finished seventh. In its closing seconds, the race for the Olympic title came down to a drive between Peterson and Hesz, the former of whom edged out the latter by only 0.15 seconds. Hungary thus settled for silver while Vernescu came in shortly thereafter for bronze.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Rolf Peterson 20 Sweden SWE Gold
2 Mihály Hesz 20 Hungary HUN Silver
3 Aurel Vernescu 25 Romania ROU Bronze
4 Erich Suhrbier 26 Germany GER
5 Günther Pfaff 25 Austria AUT
6 Toon Geurts 32 Netherlands NED
7 Erik Hansen 24 Denmark DEN
8 Alistair Wilson 25 Great Britain GBR
9 Igor Pisarev 33 Soviet Union URS
4 h1r3/4 Hideo Shigashiyama 22 Japan JPN
4 h2r3/4 Arpad Simonyik 24 Canada CAN
4 h3r3/4 Władysław Szuszkiewicz 25 Poland POL
5 h3r3/4 Ilkka Nummisto 20 Finland FIN
3 h1r2/4 Tony Ralphs 20 United States USA
3 h2r2/4 Fernando Inchauste 34 Bolivia BOL