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Rowing at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games:

Men's Coxed Eights

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Berlin, Germany
Venue(s): Regatta Course, Grünau, Berlin
Date Started: August 12, 1936
Date Finished: August 14, 1936

Gold: USA United States
Silver: ITA Italy
Bronze: GER Germany

Summary

As always, the coxed eights was the signature event of the Olympic rowing program and, since it had first been contested in 1900, the United States had never lost (Great Britain won in 1908 and 1912 when the Americans did not submit a crew). In Berlin the country was represented by the University of Washington, winners of the 1936 Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Regatta, who had been forced to raise their own funds to travel to Europe. In the opening round only Great Britain came close to the Americans’ time; every other nation was at least six seconds slower. Hungary (the 1933-1935 European champions) and Switzerland also won their heats and advanced to the final, while the remaining nations competed in the semi-final, which served as a repêchage. Great Britain, who had been in the Americans’ heat, won easily, while Italy and Germany took the final two spots for the final. It should be noted, however, that Canada had a faster time than the Italians, while both France and Japan were faster than the Germans.

In the final the Germans and the Swiss took the lead from the beginning but four of the latter’s crew, Hermann Betschart, Alex and Hans Homberger, and Karl Schmid, had already competed in the finals for the coxed and coxless fours that day and their exhaustion hampered them. Italy passed the Germans after the first third of the race, but it was not until about the last third that the United States made their move. Only one second separated the medals, but the Americans continued their undefeated streak by capturing the gold. The Italians settled for silver while Germany took bronze, making the eights one of only two rowing events in Berlin that they did not win. In June 2013 a book entitled "The Boys in the Boat", by author Daniel James Brown, chronicled the story of the University of Washington crew and became a bestseller in the United States.

Final Standings

Rank Team NOC Medal
1 United States USA Gold
2 Italy ITA Silver
3 Germany GER Bronze
4 Great Britain GBR
5 Hungary HUN
6 Switzerland SUI
2 h1 r2/3 Australia AUS
2 h2 r2/3 Japan JPN
2 h3 r2/3 Canada CAN
3 h1 r2/3 Czechoslovakia TCH
3 h2 r2/3 Yugoslavia YUG
3 h3 r2/3 France FRA
4 h2 r2/3 Brazil BRA
4 h3 r1/3 Denmark DEN