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
Great Britain had traditionally been the favorites in the Olympic coxless pairs, although they had lost the title in 1936 to the Germans. In London, the Britons were represented by Jack Wilson and Ran Laurie, winners of the 1938 and 1948 Silver Goblets & Nickalls' Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta. Laurie was also a veteran of the coxed eights at the 1936 Olympics and future father to actor Hugh Laurie. Other notable entries included Spencer Grace and Ted Bromley of Australia, runners-up at the 1948 Silver Goblets & Nickalls' Challenge Cup, 1947 European Champions Jørn Snogdahl and Søren Jensen of Denmark, and 1947 European runners-up Gert and Kurt Watzke of Austria.
Although the width at Henley meant that only three boats could race at one time, all of the favorites had managed to advance to the final by the end of the repêchage. At this stage, however, the Australian and Austrian duos were dealt a surprising defeat at the hands of Swiss brothers Hans and Josef Kalt, while the Danes were bested by Italy’s Bruno Boni and Felice Fanetti. The Britons rounded out the final and seemed to be struggling against a Swiss-led drive to the finish. Nonetheless, Wilson and Laurie forged forward and captured the gold medal by about a length, leaving the Swiss brothers with silver. The Italians, meanwhile, had tired during the second half of the race and settled for bronze.