Host City: Tokyo, Japan
Venue(s): Toda Rowing Course, Toda, Saitama
Date Started: October 11, 1964
Date Finished: October 15, 1964
It seemed possible that 1960 Olympic champions Oleg Golovanov and Valentin Boreyko of the Soviet Union could defend their title in 1964, having won silver at the 1962 World Championships, but they would be far from unchallenged. Also present in Tokyo were the reigning European champions, Steven Blaisse and Ernst Veenemans of the Netherlands, who were considered the favorites, as well as the latest victors in the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, James Lee Nicholson and Stewart Farquharson of Great Britain. Uruguay, the reigning Pan American champion, sent Mariano Caulín and Gustavo Pérez
The Netherlands won their opening round heat, as expected, but they did not earn the fastest time. That distinction went to the virtually unknown Canadian duo of George Hungerford and Roger Jackson, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that it was their first race together as a coxless pairs team. Both the Uruguay and the Soviet Union, meanwhile, were eliminated after the repêchage. In an exciting and close final, the Canadians managed to edge out the Dutch favorites and capture the gold medal by a margin of less than half a second. Germany’s duo of Michael Schwan and Wolfgang Hottenrott, the most recent European runners-up, took a comfortable bronze ahead of the Britons. Canada’s unexpected gold was its first medal in the coxless pairs since 1924 and its only gold medal in any sport at the 1964 Summer Olympics. The Dutch, meanwhile, won one of their first rowing medals of any color since 1908 (in addition to bronze in the coxed pairs and fours).