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Canoeing at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games:

Women'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: BUL Vanya Gesheva
Silver: GDR Birgit Fischer-Schmidt
Bronze: POL Izabella Dylewska-Światowiak


Sweden’s [Agneta Andersson] had become the Olympic champion in the women’s K-1 500 in 1984, but had done so in the absence of East Germany’s [Birgit Schmidt], the 1980 Olympic champion who, by 1988, had 17 World Championship titles across various disciplines, including five in the K-1 500. This made Schmidt the favorite at the 1988 Summer Olympics, but she could expect at least a challenge from Bulgaria’s [Vanya Gesheva], the 1986 World Champion in Schmidt’s absence. Gesheva set an Olympic record in the first opening heat, with Andersson coming in third behind Poland’s [Izabella Dylewska-Światowiak], the most recent World runner-up. Schmidt, meanwhile, was second in her heat behind Denmark’s [Yvonne Knudsen], the 1986 bronze medalist, who bested Gesheva’s record. Hungary’s [Rita Kőbán] took the third heat. Schmidt, Knudsen, and Dylewska-Światowiak defeated Gesheva, Andersson, and Kőbán respectively in the semi-finals, while the medal round came down to a fantastic battle to the finish between Schmidt and Gesheva, which the latter won surprisingly by only 0.12 seconds, leaving Fischer with silver. Kőbán had a similar battle with Dylewska-Światowiak in the final stretch, in which the latter emerged victorious by 0.2 seconds. Schmidt’s disappointment would not last, as she would go on to win the K-2 500 later that day and the K-4 500 the next, while Gesheva would complete a set of medals by taking silver and bronze in those events respectively.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsFinal RoundSemi-FinalsRound One

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Vanya Gesheva 28 Bulgaria BUL Gold
2 Birgit Fischer-Schmidt 26 East Germany GDR Silver
3 Izabella Dylewska-Światowiak 20 Poland POL Bronze
4 Rita Kőbán 23 Hungary HUN
5 Yvonne Knudsen 24 Denmark DEN
6 Traci Phillips 26 United States USA
7 Galina Savenko 22 Soviet Union URS
8 Agneta Andersson 27 Sweden SWE
9 Josefa Idem-Guerrini 23 West Germany FRG
4 h1 r2/3 Inge Coeck 22 Belgium BEL
4 h2 r2/3 Hana Pleskačová 22 Czechoslovakia TCH
4 h3 r2/3 María Miliauro 20 Argentina ARG
5 h1 r2/3 Caroline Brunet 19 Canada CAN
5 h2 r2/3 Susie Perrett 20 Great Britain GBR
5 h3 r2/3 Kim Mi-Ja 21 South Korea KOR