Host City: Tokyo, Japan
Venue(s): Toda Rowing Course, Toda, Saitama
Date Started: October 12, 1964
Date Finished: October 15, 1964
The 1960 Summer Olympics had seen the United States not only lose their first Olympic final ever, but fail to reach the podium at all. Furthermore, it was the Canadians who were the reigning Pan American champions in the event. Nonetheless, there were few who would have counted the United States out, and they sent a strong team from the Vesper Boat Club of Philadelphia to the 1964 Games. Aside from Canada, other contenders included Germany, the reigning Olympic, European, and World Champions, and dark horse Australia, who had taken the title at the most recent British Empire and Commonwealth Games.
Germany and the United States met in the opening round, which made for an exciting and evenly-matched race in which the Germans came out ahead by less than 0.3 seconds. The other heats were won by the Soviets and the Czechoslovakians; the former’s successes included silver at the most recent European and World Championships, while the only recent success from the latter had come with a bronze medal at the 1963 Europeans. The United States advanced in the repêchage, but the Canadians and Australians were eliminated. Despite the results in the heats, the United States was clearly dominant in the final, winning gold by a margin of over five seconds. Germany settled for silver and was trailed by Czechoslovakia, who captured bronze. One of the Americans, cox Róbert Zimonyi, was a Hungrian immigrant who had won a bronze medal for his native country in the coxed pairs event at the 1948 Olympics.