Host City: Ciudad de México, Mexico
Venue(s): Virgilio Uribe Olympic Course, Canal de Cuemanco, Xochimilco
Date Started: October 22, 1968
Date Finished: October 25, 1968
The Soviet Union was the reigning Olympic champion in the K-4 1000 and one member of its victorious lineup, Mykola Chuzhykov, returned to the Games in 1968 to defend his crown. The Soviets had also been second and third at the 1967 European Championships and third at the 1966 World Championships, but the dominant force in the event over the last four years had been the Romanians, who had taken bronze at the 1964 Summer Olympics. More recently they had been the 1965 and 1967 European Champions and 1966 World Champions, as well as the 1965 European runners-up, and they brought one returning K-4 1000 Olympic medalist, Mihai Ţurcaş, to Tokyo. The only other major international medal winners in the event were unified Germany (bronze at the 1965 Europeans) and Austria (silver at the 1966 Worlds).
The opening heats were won by Hungary (whose lineup included Imre Szöllősi, a 1960 Olympic silver medalist in the K-1 1000 and the kayak relay 4 x 500 metres), Austria, and Romania, the latter of whom posted the round’s fastest time. In the semi-finals Hungary and Romania won their heats once again, but it was Norway who surprised the spectators by not only defeating the Austrians, but capturing their heat faster than anyone else. Demonstrating that this was not a fluke, the Norwegians battled both the Romanians and the Hungarians to the finish line in the final and took gold over the former by 0.43 seconds, setting an Olympic record in the process. Hungary, meanwhile, finished in a comfortable third 0.29 seconds after the Hungarians took silver, while Austria struggled and placed seventh. Norway’s gold medal was its first in Olympic canoeing, its first of any color in the sport since 1948, its last Olympic canoeing title until 1996, and its only victory at the 1968 Summer Olympics. Two members of the Hungarian crew, Csaba Giczy and [István Timár-Geng], also earned bronze medals in the K-2 1000 at these Games.
|5 h1r3/4||Soviet Union||URS|
|5 h2r3/4||Great Britain||GBR|
|5 h3r3/4||West Germany||FRG|
|5 h2r2/4||United States||USA|