Host City: Paris, France
Venue(s): Argenteuil Basin, Paris
Date Started: July 15, 1924
Date Finished: July 17, 1924
The coxed eights in Paris were the highlight of the rowing program and a total of thirteen nations entered, with Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Switzerland dropping out prior to the start. Great Britain and the United States, who were the traditional powerhouses in the event, were represented by the Thames Rowing Club and Yale University respectively. The Thames club had won the prestigious Grand Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta in 1923, but only four members of the victorious crew, Ian Fairbairn, Jack Godwin, Arthur Long, and Charles Rew, were present in Paris. These two nations won their heats easily, with Italy taking the third, while Canada was victorious in the repêchage. The Yale crew was the class of the final, taking the gold medal nearly sixteen seconds ahead of the Canadians, who were the runners-up. Unlike the contest for the gold medal, the race for the remaining podium spots was very close\: the Italians, most of whom had been members of the 1923 European Championship-winning crew, came in third by only 3/4ths of a length, while Great Britain was only half a length behind them.
At least two of the Americans became household names in their country later in life\: Babe Rockefeller, a member of the famous Rockefeller family, became a prominent banker and businessman and, when he died in 2004 at the age of 102, was the longest-lived modern Olympic champion, a title that he retains as of 2013. Ben Spock took up a career as a pediatrician and one of his books, Baby and Child Care, sold over 25 million copies, earning “Dr. Spock” a place in the national culture. He was also politically active, running as the obscure “People’s Party”’s candidate for President and Vice-President in 1972 and 1976 respectively.