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Canoeing at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games:

Men's Kayak Singles, 1,000 metres

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Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Lake Wendouree, Ballarat, Victoria
Date Started: December 1, 1956
Date Finished: December 1, 1956

Gold: SWE Gert Fredriksson
Silver: URS Igor Pisarev
Bronze: HUN Lajos Kiss


Sweden’s [Gert Fredriksson], two-time Olympic (1948 and 1952) and World (1950 and 1954) Champion in the K-1 1000 returned to the Olympics in 1956 as a strong favorite to defend his crown. On the day prior to the event, he had reclaimed the Olympic title in the K-1 10000 that he had won in 1948 and then lost in 1952. One potentially strong challenger was Finland’s [Thorvald Strömberg], the reigning Olympic runner-up and a man who had already performed the rare feat of besting Fredriksson in a race twice, by defeating him in the K-1 10000 at both the 1950 World Championships and the 1952 Summer Olympics. Other contenders included [Louis Gantois] of France, the 1952 Olympic bronze medalist and 1954 World runner-up, and [Lajos Kiss], who was representing the reigning World bronze medalist nation of Hungary.

The opening round, however, brought several surprises. In the first heat, Fredriksson was nearly defeated by the Soviet Union’s [Igor Pisarev] and managed to eke out a victory by only 0.2 seconds, while Strömberg, suffering from stomach problems, was eliminated. In the next, both Kiss and Gantois were bested by a relatively unknown [Stefan Kapłaniak] of Poland, although, since every competitor in that heat advanced, it was likely that the others were merely conserving their strength. The final heat had no obvious favorites and was won by Germany’s [Ernst Steinhauer], a World Champion in the K-2 500 and bronze medalist in the K-2 10000. In the final, Fredriksson took charge and defeated Pisarev with ease, earning his fifth gold medal and his third straight in the K-1 1000. The Soviet thus settled for silver, while Kiss took bronze a good distance ahead of Kapłaniak, who was fourth.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinal RoundRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Gert Fredriksson 37 Sweden SWE Gold
2 Igor Pisarev 25 Soviet Union URS Silver
3 Lajos Kiss 22 Hungary HUN Bronze
4 Stefan Kapłaniak 23 Poland POL
5 Louis Gantois 27 France FRA
6 Ladislav Čepčianský 25 Czechoslovakia TCH
7 Villy Christiansen 21 Denmark DEN
8 Ernst Steinhauer 30 Germany GER
9 Barry Stuart 22 Australia AUS
4 h1 r1/2 Knut Østby 34 Norway NOR
4 h3 r1/2 David Merwin 20 United States USA
5 h1 r1/2 Thorvald Strömberg 25 Finland FIN
6 h1 r1/2 Robert Smith 27 Canada CAN