Rowing at the 1920 Summer Olympics – Men's eight

The men's eight event was part of the rowing programme at the 1920 Summer Olympics. The competition was held on 28 and 29 August 1920. It was the fifth appearance of the event. Eight boats (72 competitors), each from a different nation, competed.[1] It was the first time that nations were limited to a single boat. The event was won by the United States in a final against Great Britain; the two nations had taken all four previous gold medals (the United States winning in 1900 and 1904, when Great Britain did not compete; Great Britain winning in 1908 and 1912, when the United States did not compete). Bronze went to Norway, the nation's first medal in the men's eight. In addition to gold medals, the winners received a challenge prize that had been donated by Eugenio Brunetta d'Usseaux before his death in 1919.[2]

Men's eight
at the Games of the VII Olympiad
L'aviron aux JO de 1920 - 2.jpg
A men's eight race at the 1920 Olympics
VenueBrussels–Scheldt Maritime Canal
Dates28–29 August
Competitors72 from 8 nations
Winning time6:05.0
1st place, gold medalist(s)  United States
2nd place, silver medalist(s)  Great Britain
3rd place, bronze medalist(s)  Norway
← 1912
1924 →


This was the fifth appearance of the event. Rowing had been on the programme in 1896 but was cancelled due to bad weather. The men's eight has been held every time that rowing has been contested, beginning in 1900.[2]

The two-time defending Olympic champion was the Leander Club of Great Britain. The United States had won the previous two Games, both times represented by the Vesper Boat Club; in 1920, the American squad came from the United States Naval Academy. The two teams were favoured at the 1920 Games. Another contender was Switzerland, the 1920 European Rowing Championships winners.[2]

Czechoslovakia and Switzerland each made their debut in the event. Belgium, France, Great Britain, Norway, and the United States each made their third appearance, tying the absent Canada for most among nations to that point.

Competition formatEdit

The "eight" event featured nine-person boats, with eight rowers and a coxswain. It was a sweep rowing event, with the rowers each having one oar (and thus each rowing on one side). The course used the 2000 metres distance that became the Olympic standard in 1912.[3]

The 1920 tournament featured three rounds of one-on-one races; with 8 boats in the competition, the bracket was perfectly balanced. There were 4 quarterfinals, 2 semifinals, and a final.


Date Time Round
Friday, 27 August 1920 16:55 Quarterfinals
Saturday, 28 August 1920 17:20 Semifinals
Sunday, 29 August 1920 17:00 Final



Quarterfinal 1Edit

Rank Rowers Coxswain Nation Time Notes
1 Thoralf Hagen   Norway 6:32.2 Q
2 Karel Čížek   Czechoslovakia 6:43.0

Quarterfinal 2Edit

Rank Rowers Coxswain Nation Time Notes
1 Robin Johnstone   Great Britain 6:19.0 Q
2 Paul Staub   Switzerland 6:21.4

Quarterfinal 3Edit

Rank Rowers Coxswain Nation Time Notes
1 Sherm Clark   United States 6:24.0 Q
2 Jules Crickx   Belgium 6:40.0

Quarterfinal 4Edit

Rank Rowers Coxswain Nation Time Notes
1 Émile Barberolle   France 6:37.0 Q
2 Liong Siang Sie   Netherlands 6:38.2


Semifinal 1Edit

Rank Rowers Coxswain Nation Time Notes
1 Robin Johnstone   Great Britain 6:26.4 Q
  Thoralf Hagen   Norway 6:36.0

Semifinal 2Edit

Rank Rowers Coxswain Nation Time Notes
1 Sherm Clark   United States 6:24.0 Q
2 Émile Barberolle   France 6:42.6


Rank Rowers Coxswain Nation Time
  Sherm Clark   United States 6:05.0
  Robin Johnstone   Great Britain 6:05.8


  1. ^ "Rowing at the 1920 Antwerp Summer Games: Men's Coxed Eights". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Eight, Men". Olympedia. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  3. ^ "Why Do We Race 2000m? The History Behind the Distance". World Rowing. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2021.

External linksEdit

  • Belgium Olympic Committee (1957). Olympic Games Antwerp 1920: Official Report (in French).
  • Wudarski, Pawel (1999). "Wyniki Igrzysk Olimpijskich" (in Polish). Retrieved 25 April 2008.