Canoeing’s 10000 metre distance events appeared for the last time at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Yrjö Hietanen, one half of the Finnish duo that won the K-2 1000 and 10000 at the 1952 Summer Olympics, returned to the Games in 1956 to defend the latter title, brining Simo Kuismanen with him. The only other returning Olympic medalist was runner-up Hans Wetterström, who was also accompanied by a new partner, Carl-Gunnar Sundin. Wetterström and Sundin were also half of the silver medal-winning K-4 10000 crew at the 1954 World Championships. The reigning World Champions were Herbert Wiedermann and Max Raub of Austria, but they attempted to improve their results in the K-2 1000 from 1952, in which they had won bronze, and thus their nation was represented by Alfred Schmidtberger and Hermann Salzner. Reigning World bronze medalist Germany sent Fritz Briel and Theo Kleine. Much of the race was a battle between a leading group of four crews, Sweden, Germany, Hungary’s János Urányi and László Fábián, and Australia’s Dennis Green and Walter Brown but, as the finish line approached, the Swedes dropped back while Germany and Hungary went neck and neck towards the end. The Hungarians managed a slight advantage and won gold, leaving silver for the Germans and a surprise bronze medal for the Australians.