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 Soviet Union had won the final three editions of the Europeans (the tournament was discontinued after 1973), as well as the inaugural two of the Worlds, but sent a new duo consisting of Eleonora Kaminskaitė and Genovaitė Ramoškienė to Montreal. Although the Soviets were favored, there were other World Championship medalists at the Games. East Germany’s Sabine Jahn and Petra Boesler were the 1975 runners-up, while Bulgaria’s Svetla Otsetova and Zdravka Yordanova were that year’s third-place finishers. Andrea Vissers and Helie Klaasse of the Netherlands had been the silver medalists at the final European Championships.
The Soviet Union staved off a challenge from East Germany to complete the opening round with the fastest time, while Bulgaria won the second heat with the third-fastest time. The Soviet Union looked strong at the beginning of the final, but soon lagged behind Bulgaria and East Germany. Despite a valiant last-minute push, it failed to catch up to either and had to settle for bronze, giving Bulgaria a victory and one of its first three Olympic rowing medals (the nation’s women also won the coxless pairs and earned silver in the coxed fours), while East Germany had to make due with silver.