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Rowing at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games:

Men's Single Sculls

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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: NED Jan Wienese
Silver: FRG Jochen Meißner
Bronze: ARG Alberto Demiddi

Summary

The retirement of Vyacheslav Ivanov of the Soviet Union, winner of the single sculls event at the last three Olympics, left the field at the 1968 edition more open than it had been for many years, particularly as each major international tournament had a different reigning champion. For the European Championships it was Achim Hill, who had won silver medals for a unified German team at the past two Olympics, as well as the 1966 Diamond Challenge Sculls at the Henley Royal Regatta, and was now seeking the top spot for East Germany. The world champion, Donald Spero of the United States, was not present in Mexico City and his nation was represented by John Van Blom, but the Pan American champion, Argentina’s Alberto Demiddi, did attend. Great Britain, meanwhile, sent the runner-up from the Diamond Challenge Sculls, Kenneth Dwan, instead of winner Hugh Wardell-Yerburgh. Also notable were Canada’s Roger Jackson, a 1964 Olympic champion in the coxless pairs, and Czechoslovakia’s Václav Kozák, a 1960 Olympic gold medalist in the double sculls. Ivanov’s successor, meanwhile, was the relatively untested Viktor Melnikov.

The fastest time in the opening round, however, went to Jan Wienese of the Netherlands, bronze medalist at the last two editions of the European Championships and runner-up at the 1966 World Championships. The other heat winners were Jochen Meißner of West Germany, the 1965 European Champion, 1966 World silver medalist, and the 1967 runner-up in the Diamond Challenge Sculls, who had been considered a slight favorite prior to the Games, and the relatively unknown Niels Henry Secher of Denmark, whose time was beaten in other heats by Hill and Demiddi. Wienese and Hill took their heats in the semi-finals, although Demiddi in Wienese’s heat had a faster time than Hill. Melnikov, Kozák, Jackson, and Secher, meanwhile, were all eliminated for having failed to finish within the top six, which was rounded out by Van Blom, Meißner, and Dwan. In the final, Wienese moved to the front just after the first half and remained there for the rest of the race, winning by a comfortable margin of over four seconds. Meißner, therefore, settled for silver well ahead of Demiddi, whose bronze was an improvement on his fourth-place finish from the 1964 Games. Wienese had thus won the Netherlands’ first Olympic gold medal in rowing since 1924.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Jan Wienese 26 Netherlands NED Gold
2 Jochen Meißner 25 West Germany FRG Silver
3 Alberto Demiddi 24 Argentina ARG Bronze
4 John Van Blom 20 United States USA
5 Achim Hill 33 East Germany GDR
6 Kenneth Dwan 20 Great Britain GBR
7 Zdzisław Bromek 22 Poland POL
8 Niels Henry Secher 22 Denmark DEN
9 Václav Kozák 31 Czechoslovakia TCH
10 Manfred Krausbar 26 Austria AUT
11 Roger Jackson 26 Canada CAN
DNS r4/4 Viktor Melnikov 24 Soviet Union URS
4 h1 r2/4 Claude Dehombreux 28 Belgium BEL
4 h2 r2/4 Tsugio Ito 26 Japan JPN
5 h1 r2/4 Eugen Petrache 23 Romania ROU
6 h1 r2/4 Heriberto Martínez 24 Cuba CUB
DNS h2 r2/4 Hans Ruckstuhl 25 Switzerland SUI