Host City: Moskva, Soviet Union
Venue(s): Canoeing and Rowing Basin, Krylatskoye Sports Complex, Moskva
Date Started: July 31, 1980
Date Finished: August 2, 1980
East Germany had won the K-4 1000 at the last two editions of the World Championships and was well-positioned to take the crown at the 1980 Summer Olympics. The Soviet Union, meanwhile, was the two-time defending Olympic champion, the 1977 World runner-up, and the 1979 World bronze medalist. Other contenders included Poland, the 1977 World Champion and 1979 World runner-up, and Romania, the 1978 World runner-up. East Germany and the Soviet Union won their heats in the opening round, the latter in Olympic record time, while Poland came second in East Germany’s heat and Romania advanced through the repêchage. East Germany took the gold medal with ease in the final, while the remaining podium spots came down to a battle to the finish between Romania and Bulgaria, two teams that had qualified only through the repêchage. They crossed the line at nearly the same time, but a photo finish showed Romania as having won silver by a margin of only 0.11 seconds. Poland came in for fourth nearly a second later, while the Soviet Union struggled and placed seventh. Two members of the East German crew, Bernd Olbricht and Rüdiger Helm, also captured bronze in the K-2 500, while the latter was also an Olympic champion in the K-1 1000. Romania’s Vasile Dîba, meanwhile, was the bronze medalist in the K-1 500 in Moscow.