Host City: Tokyo, Japan
Venue(s): Toda Rowing Course, Toda, Saitama
Date Started: October 11, 1964
Date Finished: October 15, 1964
At the beginning of the single sculls tournament at the 1964 Summer Olympics, it seemed unlikely that anyone would challenge Vyacheslav Ivanov of the Soviet Union for the gold medal. Ivanov had won the event at the last two Olympics, two of the last three editions of the European Championships, and the inaugural World Championships in 1962. Furthermore, James Hill of New Zealand, the reigning British Empire and Commonwealth champion, did not attend the Tokyo Olympics, while Sy Cromwell of the United States, the latest Pan American and Diamond Challenge Sculls title holder, competed only in the double sculls. Thus the only participants who appeared even remotely likely to challenge Ivanov were Switzerland’s Göpf Kottmann , the 1963 Diamond Challenge Sculls winner, Czechoslovakia’s Václav Kozák, the 1963 European Champion and 1960 Olympic Champion in the double sculls, and Germany’s Achim Hill, the 1960 Olympic runner-up. Rob Groen of the Netherlands, runner-up at the last two Europeans, and Alberto Demiddi of Argentina, runner-up at the most recent Diamond Challenge Sculls, were also dark horse contenders.
In the opening round, however, Ivanov performed poorly and was bested by over ten seconds by American Donald Spero, a two-time national champion in the single sculls whose major international success in the event was limited to bronze at the 1964 European Championships. Achim Hill had the fastest time in the heats, while Ivanov redeemed himself by earning the fastest time in the repêchage. The final was less dramatic: Ivanov finished comfortably ahead of Achim Hill, who in turn was safely ahead of Kottmann in rounding out the podium spots. Spero, perhaps having exhausted himself in the opening round, finished last among the six finalists. Ivanov thus won his third consecutive Olympic gold medal and he was joined in this feat at the Games by American Al Oerter (in athletics’ discus throw) and Dane Paul Elvstrøm (in sailing’s one person dinghy).
|1||Vyacheslav Ivanov||26||Soviet Union||URS||Gold|
|5||Murray Watkinson||25||New Zealand||NZL|
|6||Donald Spero||25||United States||USA|
|3 h3 r2/3||Eugeniusz Kubiak||25||Poland||POL|