Host City: Montréal, Canada
Venue(s): Olympic Basin, Notre Dame Island, Montréal, Québec
Date Started: July 18, 1976
Date Finished: July 25, 1976
Defending Olympic champion Hans-Johann Färber led the West German squad into the 1976 Games, but his nation was not the most favored one in Montreal. The Soviet Union brought their reigning World Championship squad to the 1976 Summer Olympics, Vladimir Yeshinov, [Nikolay Ivanov], Aleksandr Klepikov, Aleksandr Lukyanov, and Aleksandr Sema, although the nation had also won the final European Championships (the tournament was discontinued after 1973) and silver at the 1974 World Championships with different squads. West Germany, on the other hand, had done no better than bronze at the last two Worlds. East Germany was the third team to watch: it had taken silver at the 1973 European Championships, and gold and silver at the 1974 and 1975 World Championships respectively.
East Germany defeated its Western counterpart in the opening round to win its heat in an Olympic best time, but the true surprise came when the Netherlands, who had not seen the podium in this event at a major international tournament since the 1964 Olympics, bested the Soviet Union by nearly two and a half seconds. In the semi-finals the East Germans, and then the Soviets, won their heats in Olympic record times, while the Dutch faltered and were eliminated. In the final Ivanov was replaced by [Mikhail Kuznetsov], but the Soviets maintained their momentum, and won the gold medal comfortably, leaving East and West Germany with silver and bronze respectively.