Host City: Melbourne, Australia
Venue(s): Lake Wendouree, Ballarat, Victoria
Date Started: November 23, 1956
Date Finished: November 27, 1956
As the reigning European champions, Moritz von Groddeck, Horst Arndt, and Rainer Borkowsky of Germany were probably the strongest competitors entering the coxed pairs event at the 1956 Summer Olympics, but the field was relatively open. Ihor Yemchuk and Heorhiy Zhylin, silver medalists in the double sculls at the 1952 Games, for example, had partnered with [Vladimir Petrov] to compete for the Soviet Union in this event. In the opening round, it was the American trio of Dan Ayrault, Conn Findlay, and Kurt Seiffert who posted the fastest time, while the Polish crew of Henryk Jagodziński, Zbigniew Schwarzer, and Berthold Mainka took that honor in the semi-finals. These four nations advanced to the finals, where they were fairly evenly matched. The first half saw Poland and the USSR contest for the lead, until both the Germans and the Americans initiated drives to claim the top podium spot. Poland, who had taken the lead from the Soviets, had no answer for this push and dipped into third place as the United States claimed gold and the Germans took silver. Poland and the Soviet Union were neck and neck approaching the finish line, but the latter pulled ahead just in time to claim bronze by a margin of 0.5 seconds. One of the Americans, Findlay, would go on to win three more Olympic medals, one of which was bronze in the two person keelboat, mixed yachting event at the 1976 Games. His most notable yachting success, however, came in 1977, when he served on the crew of the America Cup-winning Courageous.