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 defending Olympic champions from unified Germany, Roswitha Esser and Annemarie Zimmermann, now competed for West Germany and had won the 1965 European Championships, but had seen little success since. It was their counterparts in the East who were the World Champions, and that nation sent one victor, Anita Kobuß, to the Games, who was joined by Karin Haftenberger. The Soviet Union, meanwhile, was represented by Antonina Seredina and Lyudmila Pinayeva who, among many other accolades, were the 1960 and 1964 Olympic champions in the K-1 500, while Seredina was also a 1960 K-2 500 champion. In the first opening heat, West Germany, the Romanian duo of Valentina Serghei and Viorica Dumitru, and the Soviets were separated in that order by a mere 0.4 seconds. East Germany, meanwhile, suffered a defeat at the hands of Hungarians Anna Pfeffer and Katalin Sági-Rozsnyói in the other heat. West Germany was completely dominant in the final, winning gold by a margin of over two seconds, but the remaining podium spots were decided by a thrilling race to the finish between Romania, Hungary, and the Soviet Union. The latter two seemed to cross at exactly the same time, with a photo finish determining that the Hungarians had edged out the Soviets by the smallest margin possible: 0.01 seconds. Pinayeva thus left Mexico City with two medals, gold from the K-1 500 and bronze from the K-2 500, while Dumitru, the K-1 500 bronze medalist, missed another one by only 0.56 seconds.