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Canoeing at the 2012 London Summer Games:

Women's Kayak Singles, 500 metres

Canoeing at the 2012 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Eton Dorney, Windsor
Date Started: August 7, 2012
Date Finished: August 9, 2012

Gold: HUN Danuta Kozák
Silver: UKR Inna Osypenko-Radomska
Bronze: RSA Bridgitte Hartley

Summary

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.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Danuta Kozák 25 Hungary HUN Gold
2 Inna Osypenko-Radomska 29 Ukraine UKR Silver
3 Bridgitte Hartley 29 South Africa RSA Bronze
4 Sofia Paldanius 33 Sweden SWE
5 Josefa Idem-Guerrini 47 Italy ITA
6 Rachel Cawthorn 23 Great Britain GBR
7 Henriette Engel Hansen 30 Denmark DEN
8 Anne Rikala 35 Finland FIN
9 Katrin Wagner-Augustin 34 Germany GER
10 Aneta Pastuszka-Konieczna 34 Poland POL
11 Teresa Portela 24 Portugal POR
12 Špela Ponomarenko Janić 30 Slovenia SLO
13 Nataliya Sergeyeva 36 Kazakhstan KAZ
14 Émilie Fournel 25 Canada CAN
15 Teneale Hatton 22 New Zealand NZL
16 Alana Nicholls 26 Australia AUS
17 Carrie Johnson 28 United States USA
18 Mira Verås Larsen 25 Norway NOR
19 Yuliana Salakhova 27 Russia RUS
20 Darisleydis Amador 24 Cuba CUB
21 Yuliya Borzova 31 Uzbekistan UZB
22 Geraldine Lee 25 Singapore SIN
23 Afef Ben Ismail 18 Tunisia TUN
24 Margarita Tishkevich 20 Belarus BLR
25 Arezoo Hakimi 17 Iran IRI