Host City: Moskva, Soviet Union
Date Started: July 30, 1980
Date Finished: August 2, 1980
Participants: 180 (147 men and 32 women) from 23 countries
Youngest Participant: Kamen Kutsev (18 years, 25 days)
Oldest Participant: Wolfgang Hartl (39 years, 179 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): Rüdiger Helm and Vladimir Parfenovich (3 medals)
Most Medals (Country): Soviet Union and East Germany (8 medals)
The 1980 canoeing program was identical to that of 1976, with two women’s kayak events (singles and doubles) and nine men’s events (five in kayak, four in Canadian canoe). The men’s events were dominated by Soviet paddler [Vladimir Parfyonovich], who won three gold medals, two in kayak doubles events accompanied by [Sergey Chukhray]. The 1980 Olympics also saw the Olympic début of German [Birgit Schmidt-Fischer], the greatest women’s canoeist of all-time, who would compete through the 2004 Olympics, winning 12 medals and eight gold medals, despite having to miss the 1984 Olympics during the peak of her career. Canoeing is primarily a European sport, dominated by Eastern European and German paddlers. The 1980 US-led boycott had almost no effect on the canoeing competition in Moscow.
The 1980 canoeing events were held at the Canoeing and Rowing Basin at the Krylatskoye Sports Complex, which also hosted 1980 Olympic rowing. The venue was built in 1973 and continues to host major canoeing and rowing events. One innovation in 1980 was that an automatic start system was introduced for the canoes and kayaks.