Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Henley Royal Regatta Course, Henley-on-Thames
Date Started: August 5, 1948
Date Finished: August 9, 1948
Format: 1,929 metres
The coxed eights remained the signature event of the Olympic rowing program, even though it was not the most popular one in terms of national participation. 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) and they were therefore the overwhelming favorites in London, where they were represented by the Golden Bears of UC Berkeley. The only other nation that was considered as having even a remote chance at gold was Great Britain, who was represented by the Thames Rowing Club and whose lineup included Jack Dearlove, who had been among the latest victors in the Grand Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta. Italy sent its reigning European Championship team, who would defend their crown for the next two years (with a slightly different lineup in 1950).
The Americans dominated the entire competition, while Great Britain, Italy, and Canada were the other heat winners in the opening round. The width at Henley prevented more than three boats from competing at once and thus Italy, who had the misfortune of being placed against the United States in the semi-finals, were eliminated prior to the medal round, while Great Britain and Norway defeated Canada and Portugal respectively to ensure a spot on the podium. The final was no contest: the Americans won by over 10 seconds, continuing their undefeated streak, while the Britons settled for silver by finishing 3.4 seconds ahead of Norway.