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. Despite the time that had passed, however, one of the reigning Olympic champions, Jan Brzák-Felix of Czechoslovakia, returned to defend his crown at the 1948 Games, bringing with him a new partner, Bohumil Kudrna. In addition to his Olympic victory, Brzák-Felix had also won the C-2 10000 and taken silver in the C-2 1000 at the 1938 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships. Sweden’s Gunnar Johansson, meanwhile, won the K-2 10000 and came in third at the K-4 1000 at that tournament, and was partnered with Werner Wettersten in London. Steve Lysak and Steve Macknowski of the United States, winners of the C-2 10000 the previous day, also took part in this event. Brzák-Felix and Kudrna were the favorites and, as the race neared its conclusion, it became a drive to the finish between the Czechoslovakians and the Americans, with the former taking gold with only about a second to spare. The French duo of Georges Dransart and Georges Gandil, who had been bronze medalists in the C-2 1000 the day before, came in seven seconds later, but still far ahead of the rest of the field, for their second third-place finish of the tournament.