Host City: Moskva, Soviet Union
Venue(s): Canoeing and Rowing Basin, Krylatskoye Sports Complex, Moskva
Date Started: July 21, 1980
Date Finished: July 26, 1980
The East Germans had won the women’s coxed fours event at the 1976 Olympics and every World Championship except the most recent, where they finished second, and thus were considered strong favorites to claim gold in Moscow. Notable among their crew were Angelika Noack, a 1976 silver medalist in the coxless pairs and a two-time World Champion (1974 and 1978), and Kirsten Wenzel a 1978 World Champion. The Soviet Union, the 1976 Olympic bronze medalists, sent four members from their reigning World Championship squad, Nina Cheremisina, Marina Studneva, Galina Sovetnikova, and Svetlana Semyonova (the fifth, Olha Pyvovarova, competed in the coxed eights in Moscow), augmented by Mariya Fadeyeva and Nataliya Kazak, the latter of whom substituted for Cheremisina in the opening round. With the United States not participating due to its Olympic boycott, the only other World medalist from the past three years who sent a crew to Moscow was Romania, who had taken bronze at the last three editions. They were represented by their most recent bronze medal-winning crew: Georgeta Militaru, Florica Silaghi, Maria Tănasă, Valeria Cătescu, and Aneta Matei.
East Germany won its heat over the Soviet Union in the opening round, but more surprising was the Bulgarian victory in the other heat. Bulgaria had been the runners up at the 1976 Games, but had not since made an impact on the World Championships and only brought two of their silver medalists from Montreal, Ginka Gyurova and Mariyka Modeva, to Moscow. Nonetheless, the East Germans remained the superior power and took gold in an Olympic record time, leaving the Bulgarians and the Soviets to battle for silver. In the end, the host nation lost out by a margin of only 0.17 seconds, and settled for bronze. This meant that podium for this event at the 1980 Games was unchanged from the previous edition.