Rowing at the 1968 Summer Olympics – Men's coxed four
The men's coxed four competition at the 1968 Summer Olympics took place at Virgilio Uribe Rowing and Canoeing Course, Mexico City, Mexico. It was held from 13 to 19 October and was unexpectedly won by the team from New Zealand, which secured the country its first Olympic rowing gold medal. Thirteen teams (66 competitors, with the Soviet Union making one substitution) from 13 nations attended the competition. East Germany earned its first medal in its debut in the event, taking silver (the 1960 and 1964 Olympic tournaments had both been won by the United Team of Germany, with West German crews). Switzerland took bronze, its first medal in the men's coxed four since 1952.
|Men's coxed four|
at the Games of the XIX Olympiad
|Venue||Virgilio Uribe Rowing and Canoeing Course|
|Competitors||66 from 13 nations|
This was the 13th appearance of the event. Rowing had been on the programme in 1896 but was cancelled due to bad weather. The coxed four was one of the four initial events introduced in 1900. It was not held in 1904 or 1908, but was held at every Games from 1912 to 1992 when it (along with the men's coxed pair) was replaced with the men's lightweight double sculls and men's lightweight coxless four.
At the 1964 Summer Olympics, the men's coxed four event was won by the United Team of Germany. It was the last appearance of the German United Team. The 1962 World Rowing Championships had been won by the team from West Germany, and the 1966 World Rowing Championships had been won by East Germany. The West Germans had come second at the 1965 European Rowing Championships. The crew from the Soviet Union also belonged to the group of favourites, as they had won the last three European Rowing Championships and gained silver at the 1966 World Rowing Championships. A further medal contender was Italy, who had several previous Olympians in their boat. The New Zealand team had originally been selected as four rowers and a cox as a backup to the country's eight that had qualified. They started training together in Christchurch on the Avon River and gained the impression that they had the potential to win a medal as a coxed four. There were stern discussions with the New Zealand selectors but in the end, the rowers got their way and were put forward as a team of their own.
Mexico made its debut in the event; East and West Germany competed separately for the first time. The United States made its 11th appearance, most among nations to that point.
The coxed four event featured five-person boats, with four 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 competition used the 2000 metres distance that became standard at the 1912 Olympics and which has been used ever since except at the 1948 Games.
The 1964 tournament introduced the "B" final, a consolation final that ranked rowers that had not qualified for the main, or "A", final. Races were held in up to six lanes. This rowing competition consisted of three main rounds (quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals), as well as a repechage round that allowed teams that did not win their quarterfinal heats to advance to the semifinals. Only one boat was eliminated in the first two rounds, with 12 of 13 advancing to the semifinals.
- Quarterfinals: Three heats, 4 or 5 boats per heat. The top three boats in each heat (9 boats) advanced directly to the semifinals; other boats (4 boats) went to the repechage.
- Repechage: One heat, 4 or 5 boats per heat. The top three boats advanced to the semifinal; the last-place boat was eliminated.
- Semifinals: Two heats, 6 boats per heat. The top three boats in each heat (6 boats total) advanced to Final A; the remaining boats (6 total) went to Final B.
- Finals: Two finals. Final A awarded the medals and 4th through 6th places; Final B was a consolation final for 7th through 12th place.
|Sunday, 13 October 1968||9:00||Quarterfinals|
|Tuesday, 15 October 1968||9:00||Repechage|
|Thursday, 17 October 1968||10:00||Semifinals|
|Friday, 18 October 1968||11:00||Final B|
|Saturday, 19 October 1968||11:00||Final A|
Three heats were rowed on 13 October; these were the first three rowing races of the 1968 Summer Olympics. Two of the heats had four teams and one had five teams, with the first three teams to qualify for the semi-finals, and the remaining teams progressing to the repechage.
|1||Dieter Semetzky||East Germany||7:03.60||Q|
|3||Viktor Mikheyev||Soviet Union||7:10.18||Q|
|1||Simon Dickie||New Zealand||7:12.19||Q|
|3||John Hartigan||United States||7:21.39||Q|
|3||Stefan Armbruster||West Germany||7:12.04||Q|
|1||Simon Dickie||New Zealand||6:48.65||QA|
|2||John Hartigan||United States||6:54.22||QA|
|5||Stefan Armbruster||West Germany||7:06.45||QB|
|1||Dieter Semetzky||East Germany||6:46.23||QA|
|2||Viktor Mikheyev||Soviet Union||6:48.16||QA|
The small final (now termed B final) was raced on 18 October.
|12||Stefan Armbruster||West Germany||DNS|
The final (now termed A final) was raced on 19 October. The New Zealand team unexpectedly beat the team from East Germany by over two seconds. In another surprise, the Swiss boat overtook the Italians for the bronze medal position. The win secured New Zealand its first Olympic rowing gold, and its third Olympic rowing medal in total. The Olympic competition was the first time that the team had raced together. The medals were presented by IOC vice-president Konstantin Adrianow.
|Simon Dickie||New Zealand||6:45.62|
|Dieter Semetzky||East Germany||6:48.20|
|5||John Hartigan||United States||6:51.41|
|6||Viktor Mikheyev||Soviet Union||7:00.00|
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Rowing at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games: Men's Coxed Fours". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- "Coxed Fours, Men". Olympedia. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
- "Famed New Zealand Olympic rower Dudley Storey dies". Stuff. 6 March 2017. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
- "Why Do We Race 2000m? The History Behind the Distance". World Rowing. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
- Official Report of the Organising Committee 1969, p. 541.
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Rowing at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games: Men's Coxed Fours Round One". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Rowing at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games: Men's Coxed Fours Round One Repêchage". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- Official Report of the Organising Committee 1969, pp. 541f.
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Rowing at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games: Men's Coxed Fours Semi-Finals". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- Official Report of the Organising Committee 1969, p. 542.
- Official Report of the Organising Committee 1969, p. 129.
- Alvarez, José Rogelio (1969). The Official Report of the Organising Committee for the Games of the XIX Olympiad Mexico 1968: Volume III part 1 (PDF). Mexico City, Mexico: Organizing Committee of the Games of the XIX Olympiad.