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Canoeing at the 1976 Montréal Summer Games:

Women's Kayak Singles, 500 metres

Canoeing at the 1976 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games

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Host City: Montréal, Canada
Venue(s): Olympic Basin, Notre Dame Island, Montréal, Québec
Date Started: July 28, 1976
Date Finished: July 30, 1976

Gold: GDR Carola Zirzow
Silver: URS Tatyana Korshunova
Bronze: HUN Klára Rajnai

Summary

The Soviet Union had not lost an Olympic final in the women’s K-1 500 since 1952 and, although it had been runner-up at the last two World Championships, its entry of Tatyana Korshunova, a 1974 World runner-up in the K-4 500, was considered the favorite at the 1976 Summer Games. East Germany, meanwhile, the 1974 and 1975 World Champion and 1973 runner-up, sent Carola Zirzow, a double World Champion in the K-2 and K-4 500. The only other recent World Championship medalist was Romania, who earned bronze all three years and was represented in 1976 by its most recent podium finisher, Maria Mihoreanu.

Korshunova posted the fastest time in the opening round, while Poland’s Ewa Kamińska-Eichler bested Zirzow and helped relegate Mihoreanu to the repêchage in the other heat. Zirzow was fastest in the semi-finals, perhaps due to the challenge presented by Mihoreanu, while Korshunova and Kamińska-Eichler took the other heats. In the final, Zirzow was the dominant canoeist and managed to take the title away from the Soviet Union for the first time in over two decades by a margin of over two seconds. Korshunova, in turn, had nearly two seconds separating her from those contesting for bronze: Mihoreanu, Kamińska-Eichler, and Hungary’s Klára Rajnai, a 1975 World bronze medalist in the K-4 500. This trio battled to the line and seemed to cross at the same time, but a photo finish confirmed that Rajnai had won the bronze medal 0.15 seconds ahead of Kamińska-Eichler and 0.39 in front of Mihoreanu. Rajnai’s third-place finish was not her only one of the day either: she also took home silver in the K-2 500, while Zirzow went on to win bronze in the same event.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T
1 Carola Zirzow 21 East Germany GDR Gold 2:01.05 OB
2 Tatyana Korshunova 20 Soviet Union URS Silver 2:03.07
3 Klára Rajnai 22 Hungary HUN Bronze 2:05.01
4 Ewa Kamińska-Eichler 23 Poland POL 2:05.16
5 Maria Ştefan-Mihoreanu 22 Romania ROU 2:05.40
6 Anastázie Hajná-Fridrichová 30 Czechoslovakia TCH 2:06.72
7 Julie Leach 19 United States USA 2:06.92
8 Irene Pepinghege 34 West Germany FRG 2:07.80
9 Roza Georgieva 19 Bulgaria BUL 2:08.54
4 h1r3/4 Sue Holloway 21 Canada CAN
4 h2r3/4 Sheila Burnett 27 Great Britain GBR
4 h3r3/4 Kate Olsen 29 Denmark DEN
4 h1r2/4 Françoise Bonetat 32 France FRA
4 h2r2/4 Marita Skogh 19 Sweden SWE
5 h1r2/4 Brigitte Vernaillen 18 Belgium BEL