Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Schinias Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre, Schinias National Park
Date Started: August 24, 2004
Date Finished: August 28, 2004
Cubaâs [Ibrahim Rojas] and [Ledys Balceiro] had won the C-2 500 at the 2001 and 2002 World Championships and the 2003 Pan American Games, but had lost the most recent World title to both [PaweÅ Baraszkiewicz] and [Daniel JÄdraszko] of Poland, the 2000 Olympic runners-up, and Romaniaâs [Silviu Simioncencu] and [Florin Popescu], the latter of whom was a 2000 Olympic bronze medalist and both of whom were the 2002 World and European runners-up and the 2004 European bronze medalists. Hungaryâs [GyÃ¶rgy Kozmann] and [GyÃ¶rgy Kolonics], the latter of whom was a 1996 Olympic champion, were the reigning European champions. All of these duos were medal possibilities in the event at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
The opening heats, however, were won by Germanyâs [Christian Gille] and [Tomasz Wylenzek], the 2002 European bronze medalists, and Chinaâs [Meng Guanliang] and [Yang Wenjun], who had allegedly only entered the Games to practice for future competitions. They, along with the Cuban and the Polish crews, who were runners-up in Chinaâs heat and third in Germanyâs heat respectively, advanced directly to the finals. Hungary and Romania, who had been fourth in Germany and Chinaâs heats respectively, were sent to the semi-final, in which the latter defeated the former. The final was an incredibly tight race in which everyone except the final duo, Poland, crossed within 0.932 seconds of each other. After sorting out the chaos, it was determined that China had taken a surprise gold medal, its first of any color in Olympic canoeing, while Cuba had been runner-up by 0.072 seconds and Russiaâs [Aleksandr Kostoglod] and [Aleksandr Kovalyov], the 2001 European runners-up, had taken bronze 0.092 seconds later. This was not Kostoglod and Kovalyovâs first medal of the regatta, as they had taken silver in the C-2 1000 the day before.