Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Eton Dorney, Windsor
Date Started: August 7, 2012
Date Finished: August 9, 2012
[Inna Osypenko-Radomska] of Ukraine, the defending Olympic champion and 2010 World Champion, was a favorite to win the women’s K-1 500 in London, but the event was historically full of strong challengers and the 2012 Olympics was no exception. Germany’s [Nicole Reinhardt] was the reigning World Champion, having also carried the title in 2005, and had eight World Championship victories in various disciplines, as well as a gold medal from theK-4 500 event at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Reinhardt was injured before the London Games, however, and replaced by [Katrin Wagner-Augustin], who had four Olympic and ten World Championship titles. Although these were mostly in K-4 events, she had been the Olympic bronze medalist in the K-1 500 four years earlier and was the reigning European Champion in the event. The traditionally strong Hungarian team had [Danuta Kozák], who had five World Championship titles in K-2 and K-4 events, as well as silver from the K-4 500 event in Beijing, and had also won the K-1 500 at the 2011 European Championships.
Of all the kayakers, however, none were more heralded than [Josefa Idem-Guerrini]. At 47 years old, Idem-Guerrini had first participated in the Olympic Games in 1984 when, competing for West Germany, she won a bronze medal in the K-2 500. In the K-1 500 she had an Olympic gold medal from 2000, in addition to silver from 2004 and 2008 and bronze from 1996, as well as twenty-two medals from the World Championship, five of which were gold and two of which (1990 and 2001) were from the K-1 500. In qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics, she set a record of eight Olympic appearances by a woman, a continuous string from 1984.
The unpredictable nature of the event was evident right from beginning, as several of the less heralded kayakers finished quicker than the favorites, with [Sofia Paldanius] of Sweden posting the fastest time overall. Kozák earned the best time in the semifinals, but Wagner-Augustin was surprisingly eliminated, ending her ability to continue the German dominance in canoeing at the 2012 Games. In the final, Osypenko-Radomska got off to a strong start and led for most of the race, but her strength began wane in the last stretch of the course. She was overtaken by Kozák, who won the gold medal handily, but still managed to earn silver after staving off [Bridgette Hartley] of South Africa, who won the bronze. Hartley, whose only major international medal was bronze in the K-1 1000 at the 2009 World Championships, gave South Africa its first ever Olympic medal in canoeing; their previous best results had been seventh, earned by [Ruth Nortje] in the K-1 500 in 2000 and the women’s K-4 500 team in 2008. Idem-Guerrini finished fifth in her eighth and final Olympics, certainly not the result she had hoped for, but her longevity was an unparalleled accomplishment overall.
|3||Bridgitte Hartley||29||South Africa||RSA||Bronze|
|6||Rachel Cawthorn||23||Great Britain||GBR|
|7||Henriette Engel Hansen||30||Denmark||DEN|
|12||Špela Ponomarenko Janić||30||Slovenia||SLO|
|15||Teneale Hatton||22||New Zealand||NZL|
|17||Carrie Johnson||28||United States||USA|
|18||Mira Verås Larsen||25||Norway||NOR|
|23||Afef Ben Ismail||18||Tunisia||TUN|