Host City: Montréal, Canada
Venue(s): Olympic Basin, Notre Dame Island, Montréal, Québec
Date Started: July 28, 1976
Date Finished: July 30, 1976
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.
|1||Carola Zirzow||21||East Germany||GDR||Gold||2:01.05||OB|
|2||Tatyana Korshunova||20||Soviet Union||URS||Silver||2:03.07|
|7||Julie Leach||19||United States||USA||2:06.92|
|8||Irene Pepinghege||34||West Germany||FRG||2:07.80|
|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|