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Rowing at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games:

Men's Double Sculls

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Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Venue(s): Mei Bay, Helsinki
Date Started: July 20, 1952
Date Finished: July 23, 1952

Gold: ARG Argentina
Silver: URS Soviet Union
Bronze: URU Uruguay
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Britain had replaced the United States as the world power in double sculls, but sent the relatively unheralded John MacMillan and Peter Brandt of the Cambridge University Boat Club and were not considered strong favorites. Perhaps better positioned were Denmark’s Ebbe Parsner and Aage Larsen, the defending silver medalists and two-time European Champions and Double Sculls Challenge Cup winners (1949 and 1950). Also thought to be in contention were Peter Stebler and Emil Knecht of Switzerland, the reigning European Champions, and Robert George and Jos Van Stichel of Belgium, the 1952 winners of the Double Sculls Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta. None of these men, however, would win a medal in Helsinki.

The Swiss, Britons, and Danes all found themselves eliminated by the conclusion of the opening’s round repêchage. The Belgians followed by the end of the semi-final round, leaving five lesser-known duos to contest the final. Of them, Jacques Maillet of France was probably the best known, having been one half of the 1949 European bronze medalists. He and his new partner Achille Giovannoni, however, would not see the podium and remained far from contention throughout the race, besting only the Czechoslovakian pairing of Antonín Malinkovič and [Jiří Vykoukal]. It was the Argentines, Tranquilo Capozzo and Eduardo Guerrero, who dominated the field, taking the gold medal over six seconds ahead of their nearest challengers, Heorhiy Zhylin and Ihor Yemchuk of the Soviet Union. Uruguay’s Miguel Seijas and Juan Rodríguez came in third. Little did Capozzo, who had been eliminated in the semi-finals of the single sculls in 1948, and Guerrero know that they would have to savour their victory for many decades to come: Argentina would not take home another Olympic gold medal in any sport until 2004. It was the nation’s second Olympic rowing medal, and first gold, after Horacio Podestá and Julio Curatella’s third-place finish in the coxless pairs in 1936.

Final Standings

Rank Team NOC Medal
1 Argentina ARG Gold
2 Soviet Union URS Silver
3 Uruguay URU Bronze
4 France FRA
5 Czechoslovakia TCH
2 h1 r4/5 United States USA
2 h2 r4/5 Germany GER
2 h3 r4/5 Italy ITA
3 h1 r4/5 Australia AUS
3 h2 r4/5 Belgium BEL
2 h1 r2/5 Switzerland SUI
2 h2 r2/5 Great Britain GBR
3 h1 r2/5 Sweden SWE
3 h2 r2/5 Denmark DEN
4 h1 r2/5 Canada CAN
4 h2 r2/5 Finland FIN