Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Eton Dorney, Windsor
Date Started: August 6, 2012
Date Finished: August 8, 2012
Martin Hollstein and Andreas Ihle of Germany were certainly the duo to beat in the K-2 1000 at the 2012 Summer Olympics; both were defending Olympic champions, 2010 World Champions, and 2011 European Champions. Ihle, the elder of the two, also had an impressive record in the K-4 1000, including a silver medal from the 2004 Olympics and a 2001 World Championship title. The Hungarian team of Rudolf Dombi and Roland Kökény could not be counted out, however, having stolen the European title from Germany in 2012. Kökény was a 2005 World Champion in the event, a feat he achieved alongside [Gábor Kucsera], with whom he had also finished fourth at the 2008 Olympics. The reigning World Champions, Peter Gelle and Erik Vlček of Slovakia, were also contenders for the Olympic title, as were Sweden’s Markus Oscarsson and Henrik Nilsson. Olympic champions in 2004 and silver medalists in 2000, the Swedes had also been World Champions in 2002 and 2003, but were disqualified in the heats at the 2008 Summer Olympics for leaving their lane. Nonetheless they had emerged once more as silver medalists at most recent World Championships and were considered a threat for the podium, if not the gold medal.
Hungary mounted its challenge right from the start, recording the fastest time in the heats and advancing immediately to the final alongside the Germans, whose time was actually several seconds slower than the runners-up in Hungary’s heat, Portugal’s Fernando Pimenta and Emanuel Silva. The fastest time in the semifinals came from Gelle and Vlček of Slovakia. In the final, Oscarsson and Nilsson came out with an early lead and held it through the first 750 metres of the course, with Dombi and Kökény never more than half a length behind. In the final stretch, however, the Swedes lost ground to the sprinting prowess of several nations, and eventually placed fifth. The Hungarians were in the lead, but won by only five-hundredths of a second as the Portuguese team charged past the rest of the pack and narrowly missed podium. It was a surprise silver medal for both Pimenta and Silva, as neither had previously medaled in the K-2 1000 at either the European or World Championships. As for the defending Olympic champions, Hollstein and Ihle, they began their final push just a little too late and ended up with the bronze medal.