Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Schinias Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre, Schinias National Park
Date Started: August 24, 2004
Date Finished: August 28, 2004
Hungary had won the K-2 500 at the last three editions of the World Championships, and at two of the last three European championships, but never with their entry to the 2004 Summer Olympics, Natasa Janics and Katalin Kovács. Kovács, however, had 12 World and 8 European titles in other disciplines, however, as well as a silver medal in this discipline from the 2000 Games, and thus the Hungarians were considered the favorites. The only nation to have defeated the Hungarians in this event recentely was Poland, who won the 2002 European championships with the help of Aneta Pastuszka. Pastuszka was present in Athens and brought Beata Sokołowska in her bid to take the crown away from the Hungarians once again. Germany, meanwhile, had Birgit Fischer, the 1988 and 2000 Olympic champion, who was taking part in her sixth and final edition of the Games and was partnered with Carolin Leonhardt.
Hungary and Germany won their heats in the opening round, while Poland was third in Germany’s heat behind China’s Xu Linbei and Zhong Hongyan, although all advanced directly to the final. The medal round was rarely a close competition, with Hungary, Germany, and Poland finishing in that order with at least half a second of breathing room. Janics became a double Olympic champion, having won the K-1 500 about an hour prior to the K-2 500 final, while Fischer and Leonhardt added silver to the gold medals that they had won the previous day in the K-4 500. Kovács, meanwhile, had taken silver in that event.