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 coxed pairs was traditionally one of the more open events at the Olympics, but the Italian trio of Primo Baran, Renzo Sambo, and Bruno Cipolla staked their claim by winning the 1967 European Championships and, with the non-Olympian Giorgio Conte in place of Cipolla, had also taken silver at the 1965 edition. A third coxswain, Enrico Pietropolli, had helped Baran and Sambo taken bronze at the 1966 World Championships. The Dutch were the reigning World Champions, but only one member of their Olympic lineup, Hadriaan van Nes, had been on the gold medal-winning squad. The defending Olympic champion nation of the United States sent Bill Hobbs, Richard Edmunds, and Stewart MacDonald.
The East Germans and the Italians dominated the opening round; the former had been runners-up at the most recent European Championships, but with a different lineup. The semi-finals were somewhat closer, with the Netherlands in particular improving their performance, but the field was still led by Italy and East Germany. In the final, the Dutch fought hard and were ahead for a good portion of the race, but they were eventually overtaken by the steady and forceful drive of the Italians, who went on to take the gold medal by a margin of almost two seconds. The Netherlands settled for silver, while East Germany duked it out with Denmark for bronze, the latter of whom emerged victorious with only 0.15 seconds to spare.
|DNS r4/4||Soviet Union||URS|
|4 h1 r2/4||Mexico||MEX|
|4 h2 r2/4||Peru||PER|
|5 h1 r2/4||Uruguay||URU|
|5 h2 r2/4||France||FRA|
|6 h1 r2/4||Spain||ESP|
|6 h2 r2/4||Czechoslovakia||TCH|