Due to World War II, there had been no recent Canoe Sprint World Championships, which, at the time, was the best predictor of Olympic success in the sport. The Scandinavian nations, however, were considered as having the strongest crews in the sport, particularly Sweden, who sent Gunnar Åkerlund and Hans Wetterström to the 1948 Summer Olympics. Due to the fact that the Henley could only accommodate a limited number of boats, and the International Canoe Federation forbade heats in races of this distance, the competitors began at intervals of 30 seconds. According to the Official Report, “[t]his decision, although inevitable, was not popular, since it is impossible for a competitor to judge his position relative to the others, and he is forced to race to the clock, an extremely difficult technique.” The Swedish duo captured the gold medal, as expected, with Ivar Mathisen and Knut Østby of Norway crossing the line next for silver, and Finland’s Ture Axelsson and Nils Björklöf taking bronze. Axelsson and Björklöf would go on to win bronze in the K-2 1000 the following day.