Gert Fredriksson of Sweden, the reigning Olympic champion in the K-1 1000 and 10000, was the favorite to defend both of his titles at the 1952 Summer Olympics. He was also a multiple World Championship medalist from 1948 and 1950, with the most relevant for the Olympic K-1 10000 being his silver medal in the event from 1950. Finland’s Thorvald Strömberg had been the one to deny him the title and would be looking to repeat this feat in Helsinki. Other notable entrants included Austria’s Alfred Schmidtberger, a 1950 World bronze medalist in the K-4 10000, and Denmark’s Ejvind Hansen, a 1948 Olympic silver medalist in the K-2 1000. Strömberg and Fredriksson were fairly close for most of the race, but the former pulled ahead in the final stretch of the course by undertaking a drive against which the latter had no answer. Thus Fredriksson lost his crown in this event to Strömberg, although their fortunes would be reversed the following day, when the Swede took gold over the Finn in the K-1 1000. Germany’s Michel Scheuer, meanwhile, dashed past Hansen for a surprise bronze medal-finish.