Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Misari Regatta Course, Hanam
Date Started: September 19, 1988
Date Finished: September 24, 1988
With different partners, Romania’s Rodica Arba had won the coxless pairs event at the last three editions of the World Championships, as well as the 1984 Summer Olympics. At the 1988 Games she was the favorite and was paired with Olga Homeghi-Bularda, a 1984 Olympic champion in the coxed fours. There were no other strong contenders in the event, although Canada was the reigning Commonwealth and Pan American champion and sent Kirsten Barnes (victor at the most recent Pan Americans) and Sarah Ann Ogilvie to Seoul. The Romanians obliterated the competition in the opening round, winning their heat over six seconds ahead of Bulgarians Lalka Berberova and Radka Stoyanova and nearly 27 seconds ahead of the Canadians. The other heat winners were Katrin Schröder and Kerstin Spittler, who were representing East Germany, runner-up in the most recent World Championships. Their run was nearly 17 seconds slower than the Romanians, yet they were still the third fastest finisher overall. The final was a little more competitive, but still an easy victory for the Romanians, who captured gold with nearly four seconds to spare. Bulgaria came in second by nearly the same margin, while New Zealand, represented by Nikki Payne and Lynley Hannen, took bronze almost five seconds before the East Germans arrived at the finish line.