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Canoeing at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games:

Women's Kayak Singles, 500 metres

Canoeing at the 1988 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Misari Regatta Course, Hanam
Date Started: September 26, 1988
Date Finished: September 30, 1988

Gold: BUL Vanya Gesheva
Silver: GDR Birgit Fischer-Schmidt
Bronze: POL Izabella Dylewska-Światowiak
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Sweden’s Agneta Andersson had become the Olympic champion in the women’s K-1 500 in 1984, but had done so in the absence of East Germany’s Birgit Schmidt, the 1980 Olympic champion who, by 1988, had 17 World Championship titles across various disciplines, including five in the K-1 500. This made Schmidt the favorite at the 1988 Summer Olympics, but she could expect at least a challenge from Bulgaria’s Vanya Gesheva, the 1986 World Champion in Schmidt’s absence. Gesheva set an Olympic record in the first opening heat, with Andersson coming in third behind Poland’s Izabella Dylewska-Światowiak, the most recent World runner-up. Schmidt, meanwhile, was second in her heat behind Denmark’s Yvonne Knudsen, the 1986 bronze medalist, who bested Gesheva’s record. Hungary’s Rita Kőbán took the third heat. Schmidt, Knudsen, and Dylewska-Światowiak defeated Gesheva, Andersson, and Kőbán respectively in the semi-finals, while the medal round came down to a fantastic battle to the finish between Schmidt and Gesheva, which the latter won surprisingly by only 0.12 seconds, leaving Fischer with silver. Kőbán had a similar battle with Dylewska-Światowiak in the final stretch, in which the latter emerged victorious by 0.2 seconds. Schmidt’s disappointment would not last, as she would go on to win the K-2 500 later that day and the K-4 500 the next, while Gesheva would complete a set of medals by taking silver and bronze in those events respectively.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Vanya Gesheva 28 Bulgaria BUL Gold
2 Birgit Fischer-Schmidt 26 East Germany GDR Silver
3 Izabella Dylewska-Światowiak 20 Poland POL Bronze
4 Rita Kőbán 23 Hungary HUN
5 Yvonne Knudsen 24 Denmark DEN
6 Traci Phillips 26 United States USA
7 Galina Savenko 22 Soviet Union URS
8 Agneta Andersson 27 Sweden SWE
9 Josefa Idem-Guerrini 23 West Germany FRG
4 h1r2/3 Inge Coeck 22 Belgium BEL
4 h2r2/3 Hana Pleskačová 22 Czechoslovakia TCH
4 h3r2/3 María Miliauro 20 Argentina ARG
5 h1r2/3 Caroline Brunet 19 Canada CAN
5 h2r2/3 Susie Perrett 20 Great Britain GBR
5 h3r2/3 Kim Mi-Ja 21 South Korea KOR