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Canoeing at the 1980 Moskva Summer Games:

Men's Canadian Singles, 500 metres

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Host City: Moskva, Soviet Union
Venue(s): Canoeing and Rowing Basin, Krylatskoye Sports Complex, Moskva
Date Started: July 30, 1980
Date Finished: August 1, 1980

Gold: URS Serhiy Postriekhin
Silver: BUL Lyubomir Lyubenov
Bronze: GDR Olaf Heukrodt

Summary

The C-1 500 event at the World Championships had seen three different canoeists take the crown over the past three years, Lipat Varabiev of Romania, Lyubomir Lyubenov of Bulgaria, and Serhiy Postriekhin of the Soviet Union, all of whom were present at the 1980 Summer Olympics. Of the three, only Lyubenov had won another recent World Championship medal (bronze in 1979), while Postriekhin was representing the defending Olympic champion and the 1977 and 1978 bronze medalist. Hungary, the 1978 World runner-up, sent Tamás Wichmann, who had won three Olympic medals in the C-1 and C-2 1000, while West Germany’s Ulli Eicke, the 1977 and 1979 World runner-up, was absent due to the American-led boycott of the Games. Finally, there was one returning medalist from the 1976 Olympics, Yugoslavia’s Matija Ljubek, who had earned bronze.

Four of these five men ended up in the same opening heat, in which Postriekhin, Varabiev, and Wichmann finished in that order, while Ljubek was last and advanced only as the slowest qualifier in the repêchage. Lyubenov, meanwhile, took the second, easier heat. The medal round came to an exciting conclusion as Bulgaria and the Soviet Union went neck and neck towards the finish line, with the latter edging out the former by a mere 0.12 seconds. Wichmann, meanwhile, had his own trouble with East Germany’s Olaf Heukrodt, at the time a relative unknown, who snuck ahead of the Hungarian and nabbed bronze by a margin of only 0.2 seconds. All of the podium finishers in this event won medals in another at the 1980 Games: Postriekhin and Lyubenov traded places in the C-1 1000, while Heukrodt took silver in the C-2 1000.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Serhiy Postriekhin 22 Soviet Union URS Gold OB
2 Lyubomir Lyubenov 23 Bulgaria BUL Silver
3 Olaf Heukrodt 18 East Germany GDR Bronze
4 Tamás Wichmann 32 Hungary HUN
5 Marek Łbik 22 Poland POL
6 Timo Grönlund 26 Finland FIN
7 Lipat Varabiev 29 Romania ROU
8 Radomír Blažík 25 Czechoslovakia TCH
9 Matija Ljubek 26 Yugoslavia YUG
4 h1r2/3 Thomas Falk 27 Sweden SWE
5 h1r2/3 Willie Reichenstein 32 Great Britain GBR