Host City: München, West Germany
Venue(s): Olympic Regatta Course, Oberschleißheim, München
Date Started: September 5, 1972
Date Finished: September 9, 1972
Norway had won a surprise gold medal in the K-4 1000 at the 1968 Summer Olympics and sent its victorious crew of Egil Søby, Steinar Amundsen, Tore Berger, and Jan Johansen to defend the title at the 1972 edition. It was the Soviets and the East Germans, however, who had been the world powers in this event over the last four years, with the former having come third in the final European Championships (the tournament was discontinued after 1969) and won the most recent World Championships, while the East Germans had taken the Europeans and come in second at the Worlds. Romania was the runner-up at the 1968 Olympics and the 1969 European Championships, while Hungary had been the bronze medalist at the 1968 Games and the 1970 World Championships.
The Soviet Union and East Germany met in the opening heats, with the former eking out a victory over the latter by only half a second, while Romania and Norway took the other heats. Hungary, meanwhile, was relegated to the repêchage after struggling in Romania’s heat, but advanced after winning its repêchage heat in Olympic record time. Romania, Hungary, and East Germany ended up in the same heat in the semi-finals, where the latter experienced a surprise elimination by finishing fourth behind Romania, an unheralded Finnish crew, and Hungary. Norway and the Soviet Union won the other heats, with the latter taking charge of the medal round as well and claiming gold without too much difficulty. Right behind that nation were three contenders for the remaining podium spots, Romania, Norway, and Italy, who finished in that order with only 0.53 seconds between them.
|4 h1r3/4||East Germany||GDR|
|4 h2r2/4||United States||USA|
|5 h2r2/4||Great Britain||GBR|