Host City: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Venue(s): Ringvaart, Sloten
Date Started: August 3, 1928
Date Finished: August 10, 1928
Switzerland had won the Olympic coxed pairs event four years earlier (as well as the 1925 and 1926 European Championships) and were looking to defend their crown in Amsterdam. They sent a new crew, consisting of Hans Bourquin, at age 13 the youngest rowing competitor in the tournament, and brothers Hans and Karl Schöchlin, who had been European champions in the double sculls and eights in 1922 and 1925 respectively. In the opening round, however, France’s trio of Henri Préaux and brothers Armand and Édouard Marcelle emerged as contenders, and the Swiss were able to eke out a victory by only two-tenths of a second. The crew from the Netherlands, meanwhile, capsized during their race against Belgium and had to be rescued. With France defeating the Americans in the repêchage, the stage was set for a Switzerland-France rematch in the final, as these two nations were clearly superior to the rest of the field. Italy dropped out in the quarterfinals, however, essentially giving the Swiss team a walkover in the semifinals and allowing them to conserve their strength, while the French crew were forced to face the Belgians for a second time. Thus the final was more decisive, with an exhausted French trio unable to keep up with the Swiss, who captured the gold medal. Belgium took home bronze by default, having no one to compete against in a third-place race.