Host City: München, West Germany
Venue(s): Olympic Regatta Course, Oberschleißheim, München
Date Started: September 5, 1972
Date Finished: September 9, 1972
West Germany’s Roswitha Esser had won the K-2 500 at the last two Olympics, but was competing with a new partner, 1968 Olympic K-1 500 runner-up Renate Breuer, at the 1972 Games. The reigning World Champions were Katalin Hollósy and Anna Pfeffer of Hungary, the latter of whom was a 1968 Olympic runner-up, while the 1971 World bronze medalist Kateryna Kuryshko of the Soviet Union was joined by two-time Olympic champion in the K-1 500 Lyudmila Pinayeva. East Germany’s Petra Grabowski, meanwhile, had taken silver in 1970 and bronze in 1971 in the event at the World Championships and also had a new partner in Munich, Ilse Kaschube.
The Soviets, East Germans, and Hungarians were all placed in the same opening round heat and finished in that order, while West Germany came in second in the other heat behind Romania’s Maria Nichiforov and Viorica Dumitru, who posted the fastest time of the round. Dumitru was a 1968 Olympic bronze medalist in the K-1 500. In the final, the East Germans chased the Soviets to the finish line, but the latter were the superior crew and finished in Olympic record time, leaving Kaschube and Grabowski with silver. Hungary, West Germany, and Romania, meanwhile, battled in the final stretch for the last podium spot, with the latter capturing bronze over Hungary by a mere 0.11 seconds.