| Event type

Kayak Singles, 500 metres, Women

Date 1 December 1956
LocationLake Wendouree, Ballarat, Victoria
Participants10 from 10 countries

An almost entirely new cadre of women canoeists had developed between the 1952 and 1956 Summer Olympics, among whom Therese Zenz was the star in the K-1 500, having won it at the 1954 World Championships. At the 1952 Games (where she finished ninth) and the 1954 Worlds she had represented the French protectorate of Saar (1947-1956), whose athletes were competing under the unified German banner by 1956. Austria’s Fritzi Schwingl, the 1948 Olympic bronze medalist, had been the runner-up at the most recent World Championships, but her nation was represented by Helga Hellebrand in Melbourne. Denmark, meanwhile, sent 1954 World bronze medalist Tove Søby. Søby and Zenz were the heat winners in the opening round, with the latter setting an Olympic record in the process. In the final, however, Zenz found herself battling Yelizaveta Dementyeva of the Soviet Union for gold and lost the fight, settling for silver instead. Søby followed a few seconds later, claiming bronze.

1Yelizaveta DementyevaURS2:20.9 (2 h1)2:18.9 (1)Gold
2Therese ZenzGER2:17.6 (1 h1)2:19.6 (2)Silver
3Tove SøbyDEN2:23.7 (1 h2)2:22.3 (3)Bronze
4Cecília Hartmann-BerkesHUN2:25.3 (2 h2)2:23.5 (4)
5Edith CochraneAUS2:24.0 (3 h1)2:23.8 (5)
6Daniela WalkowiakPOL2:25.8 (3 h2)2:24.1 (6)
7Patricia MoodyGBR2:26.7 (4 h1)2:25.3 (7)
8Éva MarionFRA2:29.4 (4 h2)2:27.9 (8)
5 h1 r1/2Helga HellebrandAUT2:27.5 (5 h1)
5 h2 r1/2Eila EskolaFIN2:31.4 (5 h2)

Round One (1 December 1956 — 9:00)

Top four in each heat advanced to the final.

Heat One

1Therese ZenzGER2:17.6QOB
2Yelizaveta DementyevaURS2:20.9Q
3Edith CochraneAUS2:24.0Q
4Patricia MoodyGBR2:26.7Q
5Helga HellebrandAUT2:27.5

Heat Two

1Tove SøbyDEN2:23.7Q
2Cecília Hartmann-BerkesHUN2:25.3Q
3Daniela WalkowiakPOL2:25.8Q
4Éva MarionFRA2:29.4Q
5Eila EskolaFIN2:31.4

Final Round (1 December 1956 — 16:00)

1Yelizaveta DementyevaURS2:18.9
2Therese ZenzGER2:19.6
3Tove SøbyDEN2:22.3
4Cecília Hartmann-BerkesHUN2:23.5
5Edith CochraneAUS2:23.8
6Daniela WalkowiakPOL2:24.1
7Patricia MoodyGBR2:25.3
8Éva MarionFRA2:27.9