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Canoeing at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games:

Men's Kayak Singles, 500 metres

Canoeing at the 1988 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Misari Regatta Course, Hanam
Date Started: September 26, 1988
Date Finished: September 30, 1988

Gold: HUN Zsolt Gyulay
Silver: GDR Andreas Stähle
Bronze: NZL Paul MacDonald


The men’s K-1 500 results at the last three editions of the World Championships had been inconsistent and thus there were no clear favorites in the event, with the three victors having been East Germany’s [Andreas Stähle], New Zealand’s [Paul MacDonald], and Great Britain’s [Jeremy West]. MacDonald was a 1984 Olympic champion in the K-2 500 and the K-4 1000, but he had accomplished these feats in the absence of most of the major canoeing nations due to the Soviet-led boycott. Stähle, meanwhile, was the only competitor at the last three World Championships to have taken home more than one medal in the event, as he was also the 1987 runner-up.

Stähle won his heat in the opening round, but it was Hungary’s [Zsolt Gyulay], the 1986 World runner-up, who set an Olympic record, defeating MacDonald and helping to relegate West to the repêchage in the process. Gyulay again eliminated West and posted the fastest time in the semi-finals, while Stähle came in third behind MacDonald and Sweden’s [Karl Sundqvist] as [Viktor Pusev] of the Soviet Union took the third heat. Gyulay took the gold medal with ease, but the remainder of the race was an exciting battle where almost every competitor was in contention for the remaining podium spots as they approached the finish line. Stähle, MacDonald, America’s [Mike Herbert], Sundqvist, and Czechoslovakia’s [Attila Szabó], the 1987 World runner-up, crossed in that order with only a second between them, and even last-placed Pusev was less than two and a half seconds behind Stähle. Each of the podium finishers in this event went on to win multiple medals in Seoul: Gyulay became a double Olympic champion with a victory in the K-4 1000, Stähle captured bronze in the same event, and MacDonald won the K-2 500 and was runner-up in the K-2 1000.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinal RoundSemi-FinalsRepêchageRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Zsolt Gyulay 24 Hungary HUN Gold
2 Andreas Stähle 23 East Germany GDR Silver
3 Paul MacDonald 28 New Zealand NZL Bronze
4 Mike Herbert 27 United States USA
5 Karl Sundqvist 25 Sweden SWE
6 Attila Szabó 22 Czechoslovakia TCH
7 Martin Hunter 22 Australia AUS
8 Dirk Joestel 23 West Germany FRG
9 Viktor Pusev 22 Soviet Union URS
4 h1 r3/4 Renn Crichlow 20 Canada CAN
4 h2 r3/4 Francisco Leal 20 Spain ESP
4 h3 r3/4 Einar Rasmussen 32 Norway NOR
5 h1 r3/4 Jeremy West 27 Great Britain GBR
5 h2 r3/4 Tang Kwok Cheung 23 Hong Kong HKG
5 h3 r3/4 Cheon In-Sik 20 South Korea KOR
6 h1 r3/4 Geert Deldaele 24 Belgium BEL
DNS h2 r3/4 Luzius Philipp 23 Switzerland SUI
AC h2 r2/4 José Garcia 24 Portugal POR