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Canoeing at the 1980 Moskva Summer Games:

Women's Kayak 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: GDR Birgit Fischer-Schmidt
Silver: BUL Vanya Gesheva
Bronze: URS Antonina Melnikova

Summary

East Germany was the reigning Olympic champion in the women’s K-1 500 and had won the event at the last five editions of the World Champions. The nation sent Birgit Fischer, who was at the beginning of her career and had only two World Championship medals, gold in the 1978 and 1979 K-4 500, a far cry from the 38 that she would hold by the time of her retirement. She began to show some of that future promise by winning her opening heat and the medal round with relative ease, becoming the youngest Olympic canoeing champion (she would later earn the title as the oldest in 2004). An even lesser-known Bulgarian, Vanya Gesheva, was never far behind Fischer and took the silver medal, although she had to battle the Soviet Union’s Antonina Melnikova for it, emerging victorious by only 0.18 seconds and leaving her challenger with bronze.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Birgit Fischer-Schmidt 18 East Germany GDR Gold
2 Vanya Gesheva 20 Bulgaria BUL Silver
3 Antonina Melnikova 22 Soviet Union URS Bronze
4 Maria Ştefan-Mihoreanu 26 Romania ROU
5 Ewa Kamińska-Eichler 27 Poland POL
6 Agneta Andersson 19 Sweden SWE
7 Katalin Povázsán 19 Hungary HUN
8 Béatrice Knopf-Basson 22 France FRA
9 Lucy Perrett 19 Great Britain GBR
4 h1r2/3 Marleen Kuppens 21 Belgium BEL
5 h1r2/3 Jana Polakovičová 19 Czechoslovakia TCH