Host City: Montréal, Canada
Venue(s): Olympic Basin, Notre Dame Island, Montréal, Québec
Date Started: July 19, 1976
Date Finished: July 24, 1976
Women’s rowing events were new to the Olympic Games, but they had been contested at the European Championships since 1954 and the World Championships since 1974. The Europeans went extinct after 1973, but three members of the crew from the Netherlands, [Liesbeth Vosmaer-de Bruin], [Hette Borrias], and [Myriam van Rooyen-Steenman], had been among the final champions from that tournament. A better metric, however, might have been the World Championships, in which East Germany was undefeated. They sent a new lineup to the 1976 Summer Olympics, but were still favored to take the inaugural title.
The opening heats were won by East Germany and Bulgaria, the latter of whom had captured silver at the 1975 World Championships with almost the same lineup that they brought to Montreal. These two nations also had the two best times overall in round one. In the final, however, the East Germans demonstrated the prowess that they had displayed at the World Championships and took gold with ease, over three seconds ahead of the Bulgarians. The Soviet Union, who had not seen a major international podium in the event since they won the 1972 European Championships, captured bronze. Bulgaria’s silver medal was one of its first three Olympic rowing medals, as the nation’s women won the double sculls and the coxless pairs.