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 double sculls had been one of only two women’s rowing events not won by East Germany at the 1976 Summer Olympics (the other was the coxless pairs), and reigning champions Svetla Otsetova and Zdravka Yordanova of Bulgaria returned in a bid to defend their crown. Since Montreal they had experienced moderate success at the World Championships, winning gold in 1978 and silver in 1977 and 1979, but the East Germans remained a force by rowing to victory in the years that the Bulgarian duo were not victorious. That nation sent Cornelia Linse and Heidi Westphal, the reigning World Champions, to reassert their Olympic dominance.
In the opening round, however, both of these nations faltered to the benefit of the Soviet Union and Romania, who came in first and second in the heat that contained Bulgaria and East Germany. The Soviet Union, who had taken silver at the 1978 World Championships with a different duo, was represented by Yelena Khloptseva and Larisa Aleksandrova, while Romania sent Olga Homeghi and Valeria Roşca, bronze medalists at the most recent World Championships. The easier heat was won by Poland’s Hanna Jarkiewicz and Janina Klucznik. Proving that their performance was not a fluke, Khloptseva and Aleksandrova won the final in Olympic record time, while the East Germans rebounded and took silver. Romania slid in for a bronze medal comfortably ahead of the Bulgarians, who were unable to reach the podium, let alone defend their title.