Host City: Montréal, Canada
Venue(s): Olympic Basin, Notre Dame Island, Montréal, Québec
Date Started: July 28, 1976
Date Finished: July 30, 1976
The men’s C-1 500 was held for the first time at the Olympics in 1976 and, having won the event at the last two World Championships, the Soviet Union’s [Serhiy Petrenko] seemed well-positioned to take the inaugural title. Petrenko, however, elected to compete in the C-2 500 and 1000 instead, leaving [Aleksandr Rogov] to represent his nation. Similarly, the 1973 World Champion and 1975 runner-up, [Miklós Darvas] of Hungary, did not attend the Montreal Games and his nation sent [Károly Szegedi], runner-up in the C-1 10000 at the 1975 World Championships, in his place. This left Romania’s [Ivan Patzaichin] and Bulgaria’s [Borislav Ananiev], the 1973/1974 and 1975 bronze medalists respectively, as the only World Championship medalists competing in the event, which made the field in Montreal fairly open.
The opening heats were won by Yugoslavia’s [Matija Ljubek] and East Germany’s [Wilfried Stephan], the latter of whom was representing the 1974 World runner-up nation. Ljubek’s feat, meanwhile, was even more impressive because he defeated Szegedi, Ananiev, Rogov, Patzaichin, and eventual silver medalist [John Wood] of Canada. Rogov, at least, was able to get revenge in the semi-finals, as he won his heat and bested Ljubek in the process, while the other heats went to Stephan and Szegedi. With such a strong and close field, most spectators expected an exciting finale, and the canoeists did not disappoint. As they approached the finish line, Ananiev, Ljubek, Rogov, Stephan, and Wood were all contenders for the gold medal, until the East German began to fall slightly behind. This left four Olympians for three podium spots and they all crossed the line within 0.69 seconds of each other. The top three, Rogov, Wood, and Ljubek in that order, were even closer, separated by only 0.37 seconds. Although Ljubek’s bronze might have been disappointing in consideration of his earlier performance, he would go to win the C-1 1000 and earn Yugoslavia its first two Olympic canoeing medals. Ananiev, meanwhile, would continue his unlucky streak by once again finishing just off the podium in that event.
|1||Aleksandr Rogov||20||Soviet Union||URS||Gold||OB|
|5||Wilfried Stephan||21||East Germany||GDR|
|8||Ulli Eicke||24||West Germany||FRG|
|4 h1 r3/4||Ryszard Kosiński||21||Poland||POL|
|4 h2 r3/4||Timo Grönlund||22||Finland||FIN|
|4 h3 r3/4||Göran Backlund||19||Sweden||SWE|
|4 h1 r2/4||Atsumobu Ogata||27||Japan||JPN|
|4 h2 r2/4||Pietro Bruschi||24||Italy||ITA|
|5 h2 r2/4||Angus Morrison||24||United States||USA|