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
Prior to World War II, the United States had been the Olympic double sculls powerhouse, but they had been dethroned in 1936 by Britons Jack Beresford and Dick Southwood. In 1948 Great Britain sent Dickie Burnell, son of 1908 rowing gold medalist Charles Burnell, and Bert Bushnell, runner-up in at the 1948 Diamond Challenge Sculls at the Henley Royal Regatta. The Henley’s Double Sculls Challenge Cup had begun only in 1946 and the only winners or runners-up present were Belgium’s Ben Piessens and Willy Collet. The only European champions since the war, however, Henk van der Meer and Tom Neumeier of the Netherlands, also travelled to London. The Americans, hoping to regain their former glory, sent Joseph Angyal and Arthur Gallagher.
The width at Henley prevented more than three boats from competing in any race and, of the favorites, only the Americans and the Belgians survived without having to face a repêchage, while the Dutch failed to advance at all. Great Britain faced both the United States and Belgium in its semi-final, but bested them both by considerable margins. This left the Danish (Aage Larsen and Ebbe Parsner) and Uruguayan (Juan Rodríguez and William Jones) duos to compete for the podium. At first it seemed that each crew might have a fair chance of taking gold, but the Uruguayans eventually fell back, while the Danes were overpowered by the Britons closer to the end of the course. The latter were therefore able to defend their nation’s crown at a home Olympics, while Larsen and Parsner had to settle for silver.