Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Misari Regatta Course, Hanam
Date Started: September 26, 1988
Date Finished: September 30, 1988
Anke Nothnagel and Birgit Schmidt of East Germany were the reigning World Champions in the K-2 500 and, with the latter having earned 17 World titles in various disciplines, the duo was considered as the favorites for the event at the 1988 Summer Olympics. Defending Olympic champions Agneta Andersson and Anna Olsson returned to the Games, but their victory in 1984 had come in the absence of most of the world’s leading canoeing powers due to the Soviet-led boycott. Hungary’s Erika Mészáros had won the event in Schmidt’s absence at the 1986 World Championships and brought a new partner, 1980 bronze medalist Éva Rakusz, to the Games. Vanya Gesheva of Bulgaria, meanwhile, was the 1980 Olympic runner-up, and was joined in Seoul by Diana Paliyska.
All four of these nations met in the opening heat, with Bulgaria, East Germany, and Hungary finishing in the top three, which relegated Sweden to the repêchage. The other heat was won by the Dutch duo of Anna Cox-Wood and Annemiek Derckx, the latter of whom was a 1984 Olympic bronze medalist in the K-1 500. In the semi-finals, Sweden pulled off a surprising victory over Bulgaria, while Hungary bested the Netherlands and East Germany took the third heat. Nothnagel and Schmidt won the final in Olympic record time, but were still only 0.2 seconds ahead of Gesheva and Paliyska, who captured the silver medal. The battle for bronze, meanwhile, was between Hungary and the Netherlands, the latter of whom pulled of somewhat of an upset by taking the medal by a margin of 0.58 seconds. This was Schmidt’s second medal of the Games, as she had already been runner-up in the K-1 500, and both her and her partner would become double Olympic champions in the K-4 500 the following day. Gesheva, meanwhile, who had been the K-1 500 champion, would take bronze with Paliyska in the K-4 500.
|4 h1r3/4||West Germany||FRG|
|4 h3r3/4||Great Britain||GBR|
|4 h2r2/4||South Korea||KOR|