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Rowing at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games:

Men's Coxless Fours

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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

Gold: GDR East Germany
Silver: HUN Hungary
Bronze: ITA Italy

Summary

East Germany sent their reigning European and World Champion crew, Frank Forberger, Dieter Grahn, Frank Rühle, and Dieter Schubert, to the coxless fours event at the 1968 Summer Olympics and they were considered the heavy favorites. The defending Olympic champion nation of Denmark had not had a podium finish at a major international tournament since their 1964 victory, although members of its Roforeningen Kvik (none of whom were present in this event in Mexico City) had won the Stewards' Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta in 1965. Perhaps the only serious challengers that the East Germans faced were the Hungarians, who sent their 1967 European runner-up crew, Zoltán Melis, György Sarlós, József Csermely, Antal Melis, to take another stab at a gold medal.

East Germany won its opening heat, although the fastest time of the round went to Hungary, and then Italy, who were participating in a somewhat more competitive heat. In the final, however, the East Germans were never in any real danger and captured the gold medal by a margin of over two and a half seconds. They would become known as “The Dresden Four” and never lost an international race together, including at the 1972 Summer Olympics. The Hungarians, in turn, took silver by finishing well ahead of the Italians, who settled for bronze. It was the first rowing medal for Hungary since 1948, its third ever, and, as of 2012, its most recent.

Final Standings

Rank Team NOC Medal
1 East Germany GDR Gold
2 Hungary HUN Silver
3 Italy ITA Bronze
4 Switzerland SUI
5 United States USA
6 West Germany FRG
7 Romania ROU
8 Mexico MEX
9 France FRA
10 Denmark DEN
11 Soviet Union URS