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
Formerly prominent, but having lost their long-held Olympic title in 1936, Great Britain was nonetheless a force to be reckoned with in the coxless fours at a home Olympics. In London the nation was represented by Peter Kirkpatrick, Hank Rushmere, Tom Christie, and Tony Butcher of the Thames Rowing Club, the organization that had won the 1947 and 1948 editions of the Stewards' Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta. The favorites, however, were the Italian quartet of Giuseppe Moioli, Elio Morille, Giovanni Invernizzi, and Francesco Faggi, who were the reigning European Champions and would go on to hold that crown for two more years. These two nations were comfortably ahead of the rest of the pack in the opening round.
In the semifinals, however, the Britons were dealt a surprising defeat at the hands of the Danes, represented by Ib Storm Larsen, Helge Muxoll Schröder, Aksel Bonde, and Helge Halkjær, who exited the round with the fastest time. Also advancing to the final were Americans Bob Perew, Greg Gates, Stu Griffing, and Fred Kingsbury, although with a time that was nearly 30 seconds slower than either Italy or Denmark’s. The Italians led the pack for the entire race and, although the Danes were able to press them most of the time, they won the gold handily and left Denmark with a silver medal. The Americans, never a genuine threat, settled for bronze after finishing over four seconds behind the Danes.