Host City: Ciudad de México, Mexico
Venue(s): Virgilio Uribe Olympic Course, Canal de Cuemanco, Xochimilco
Date Started: October 13, 1968
Date Finished: October 18, 1968
The defending Olympic champions in the coxless pairs were the Canadians, but most considered their surprise victory from 1964 unlikely to be repeated, and thus their entry, John Ulinder and Lyle Gatley was not believed to be a serious contender in Mexico City. This left the field somewhat more open, although Americans Larry Hough and Tony Johnson were certainly favorites: in 1967 they were national, North American, Pan American, and European champions. Denmark had Peter Fich Christiansen, one half of the 1965 European champion duo, partnered with Ib Larsen, while the World Champion and European runner-up East Germans had a different lineup of Jörg Lucke and Heinz-Jürgen Bothe, but were still considered strong contenders. Austria’s Dieter Ebner and Dieter Losert, the most recent World runners-up, were also in contention.
The Dutch duo of Roel Luynenburg and Ruud Stokvis, both of whom had been part of the bronze medal-winning coxless fours crew at the 1966 World Championships, had an impressive run that left them with the fastest time in the opening round. The only two nations to come within ten seconds of their time were Denmark and the United States, and both were over five seconds behind. Luyenburg and Stokvis met a greater challenge in the semi-finals, where they managed to defeat the Austrians by a mere 0.02 seconds, while the United States outperformed Denmark and East Germany convincingly in its own heat, although all three advanced, along with Switzerland’s Fred Rüssli and Werner Zwimpfer. The final was an American and East German affair, with the end being so close that a photo-finish had to be used to determine that the Germans had won by 0.15 seconds. The Danes finished over five seconds behind these two nations, but well-enough ahead of Austria that they captured bronze with ease. The Dutch duo faltered in the final and finished last, a disappointing finale to an otherwise spectacular performance.
|4 h1 r2/4||Canada||CAN|
|4 h2 r2/4||Uruguay||URU|
|5 h1 r2/4||Finland||FIN|
|5 h2 r2/4||Cuba||CUB|
|6 h1 r2/4||Mexico||MEX|
|AC h2 r2/4||Soviet Union||URS||DNF|