| Event type

Kayak Singles, 1,000 metres, Men

Date 1 December 1956
LocationLake Wendouree, Ballarat, Victoria
Participants13 from 13 countries
Olympic Record 4:07.9 / Gert Fredriksson SWE / 28 July 1952

Sweden’s Gert Fredriksson, two-time Olympic (1948 and 1952) and World (1950 and 1954) Champion in the K-1 1000 returned to the Olympics in 1956 as a strong favorite to defend his crown. On the day prior to the event, he had reclaimed the Olympic title in the K-1 10000 that he had won in 1948 and then lost in 1952. One potentially strong challenger was Finland’s Thorvald Strömberg, the reigning Olympic runner-up and a man who had already performed the rare feat of besting Fredriksson in a race twice, by defeating him in the K-1 10000 at both the 1950 World Championships and the 1952 Summer Olympics. Other contenders included Louis Gantois of France, the 1952 Olympic bronze medalist and 1954 World runner-up, and Lajos Kiss, who was representing the reigning World bronze medalist nation of Hungary.

The opening round, however, brought several surprises. In the first heat, Fredriksson was nearly defeated by the Soviet Union’s Igor Pisarev and managed to eke out a victory by only 0.2 seconds, while Strömberg, suffering from stomach problems, was eliminated. In the next, both Kiss and Gantois were bested by a relatively unknown Stefan Kapłaniak of Poland, although, since every competitor in that heat advanced, it was likely that the others were merely conserving their strength. The final heat had no obvious favorites and was won by Germany’s Ernst Steinhauer, a World Champion in the K-2 500 and bronze medalist in the K-2 10000. In the final, Fredriksson took charge and defeated Pisarev with ease, earning his fifth gold medal and his third straight in the K-1 1000. The Soviet thus settled for silver, while Kiss took bronze a good distance ahead of Kapłaniak, who was fourth.

1Gert FredrikssonSWE4:22.0 (1 h1)4:12.8 (1)Gold
2Igor PisarevURS4:22.2 (2 h1)4:15.3 (2)Silver
3Lajos KissHUN4:35.8 (2 h2)4:16.2 (3)Bronze
4Stefan KapłaniakPOL4:35.4 (1 h2)4:19.8 (4)
5Louis GantoisFRA4:39.9 (3 h2)4:22.1 (5)
6Ladislav ČepčianskýTCH4:26.0 (3 h1)4:23.2 (6)
7Villy ChristiansenDEN4:25.2 (2 h3)4:25.2 (7)
8Ernst SteinhauerGER4:24.8 (1 h3)4:25.5 (8)
9Barry StuartAUS4:30.1 (3 h3)4:30.7 (9)
4 h1 r1/2Knut ØstbyNOR4:27.1 (4 h1)
4 h3 r1/2David MerwinUSA4:35.9 (4 h3)
5 h1 r1/2Thorvald StrömbergFIN4:51.3 (5 h1)
6 h1 r1/2Robert SmithCAN4:54.2 (6 h1)

Round One (1 December 1956 — 9:00)

Top three in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

1Gert FredrikssonSWE4:22.0Q
2Igor PisarevURS4:22.2Q
3Ladislav ČepčianskýTCH4:26.0Q
4Knut ØstbyNOR4:27.1
5Thorvald StrömbergFIN4:51.3
6Robert SmithCAN4:54.2

Heat Two

1Stefan KapłaniakPOL4:35.4Q
2Lajos KissHUN4:35.8Q
3Louis GantoisFRA4:39.9Q

Heat Three

1Ernst SteinhauerGER4:24.8Q
2Villy ChristiansenDEN4:25.2Q
3Barry StuartAUS4:30.1Q
4David MerwinUSA4:35.9

Final Round (1 December 1956 — 16:00)

1Gert FredrikssonSWE4:12.8
2Igor PisarevURS4:15.3
3Lajos KissHUN4:16.2
4Stefan KapłaniakPOL4:19.8
5Louis GantoisFRA4:22.1
6Ladislav ČepčianskýTCH4:23.2
7Villy ChristiansenDEN4:25.2
8Ernst SteinhauerGER4:25.5
9Barry StuartAUS4:30.7