Host City: Ciudad de México, Mexico
Venue(s): Virgilio Uribe Olympic Course, Canal de Cuemanco, Xochimilco
Date Started: October 13, 1968
Date Finished: October 19, 1968
The United States had won nine of the ten Olympic coxed eights events that it had entered, missing only 1960, when they had been defeated by a unified Germany and failed to even reach the podium. They were favorites at the 1968 Games, but not overwhelmingly so. West Germany had won the last four European Championships, as well as the last two World Championships, and were as much favored as the Americans, if not more. The Soviets were also a factor, having been runners-up at the last two World Championships, as well as three of the last four European Championships (they were third in 1967).
In the opening round, the Americans performed poorly and lost their heat by nearly ten seconds to the New Zealanders. The East Germans won the other heat and also earned the fast time of the round. In the repêchage, the Americans barely survived to the finals, qualifying with the slowest time among the four who advanced (Czechoslovakia, Australia, and the Soviet Union were the others). Although American rowing crews had a reputation and a history for being able to pull themselves together for Olympic finals, there would be no such miracle in Mexico City. The West Germans earned a well-deserved gold medal by defeating the Australians by nearly a second. Australia settled for silver, while the Soviet Union managed to slip in for a bronze medal. The United States finished dead last, nearly seven and a half seconds behind the victors.