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Canoeing at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Games:

Men's Kayak Doubles, 500 metres

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Host City: Barcelona, Spain
Venue(s): Catalonia Olympic Canal, Castelldefels
Date Started: August 3, 1992
Date Finished: August 7, 1992

Gold: GER Germany
Silver: POL Poland
Bronze: ITA Italy

Summary

New Zealand’s Ian Ferguson and Paul MacDonald had won the men’s K-2 500 at the last two editions of the Olympic Games, but had been absent from the World Championship podium for the past three years. Kay Bluhm and Torsten Gutsche, on the other hand, had been there every year, winning it for East Germany in 1989, then taking bronze in 1990, and then coming runner-up in 1991 for a unified Germany. The reigning World Champions were Juan José Román and Juan Sánchez, while the Soviet Union’s Sergey Kalesnik and Anatoly Tishchenko, competing under the banner of the Unified Team for the 1992 Summer Olympics, had taken the title in 1991.

Kalesnik and Tishchenko posted an Olympic record time in the opening round, defeating Román and Sánchez in the process, while the New Zealanders were sent to the repêchage in Germany’s heat and advanced to the semi-finals only by being the fastest fourth-place finisher among the heats. The other heats were won by Americans Michael Harbold and Peter Newton and Poland’s Maciej Freimut and Wojciech Kurpiewski, the 1989 World bronze medalists. In the first semi-final heat, the Italian duo of Antonio Rossi and Bruno Dreossi not only defeated Kalesnik and Tishchenko, but bested their Olympic record and outperformed the Americans. Germany took the other heat over Poland, also getting the better of the Spaniards and helping to eliminate Ferguson and MacDonald. With the two-time defending Olympic champions out of the picture, the gold was guaranteed to go to a new nation, and it found its home around the necks of the deserving German team, who grabbed it over a second and a half before Poland nabbed silver ahead of Italy by a margin of only 0.16 seconds. Bluhm and Gutsche would go on to become double Olympic champions by winning the K-2 1000, while Italy won its first canoe sprint medal since 1960 (Pierpaolo Ferrazzi had won the men’s K-1 Slalom earlier in the Games).

Final Standings

Rank Team NOC Medal
1 Germany GER Gold
2 Poland POL Silver
3 Italy ITA Bronze
4 Spain ESP
5 Sweden SWE
6 Denmark DEN
7 Hungary HUN
8 United States USA
9 Unified Team EUN
5 h2r3/4 Romania ROU
6 h1r3/4 Australia AUS
6 h2r3/4 New Zealand NZL
7 h1r3/4 Great Britain GBR
7 h2r3/4 Portugal POR
8 h1r3/4 Finland FIN
8 h2r3/4 Czechoslovakia TCH
9 h1r3/4 France FRA
9 h2r3/4 Canada CAN
4 h2r2/4 Netherlands NED
4 h3r2/4 Bulgaria BUL
5 h1r2/4 Norway NOR
5 h2r2/4 South Africa RSA
5 h3r2/4 Belgium BEL
6 h1r2/4 Indonesia INA
6 h2r2/4 Brazil BRA
6 h3r2/4 Ireland IRL
7 h1r2/4 South Korea KOR
7 h2r2/4 Cote d'Ivoire CIV
7 h3r2/4 Argentina ARG
8 h1r2/4 Hong Kong HKG