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 favorites for the double sculls event at the 1968 Summer Olympics were Switzerland’s Melchior Bürgin and Martin Studach. Together they had won the last two editions of the European Championships, the most recent World Championships, and the 1965 and 1967 Double Sculls Challenge Cups at the Henley Royal Regatta. Among their challengers would be Anatoly Sass and Aleksandr Timoshinin of the Soviet Union, the nation defending its Olympic title, Bulgaria’s Atanas Zhelev and Yordan Valchev, the most recent European runners-up, and Jaroslav Hellebrand and Petr Krátký of Czechoslovakia, who had won bronze medals at the last two European Championships.
In the opening round it was the Bulgarians who posted the fastest time, but most attention was focused on the Swiss duo, as Studach overexerted himself in Mexico City’s high altitude and collapsed, leading to his hospitalization and replacement by Hans Ruckstuhl. The Swiss, along with Czechoslovakia among others, were subsequently eliminated in the semi-finals. In the final, the relatively unheralded Dutch duo of Leendert van Dis and Harry Droog led the race most of the way, but were passed by Sass and Timoshinin in the last 500 metres and forced to settle for silver. Americans Bill Maher and [John Nunn], a silver medalist at the 1967 Pan American Games, finished well ahead of the Bulgarians to take bronze.