Host City: München, West Germany
Venue(s): Olympic Regatta Course, Oberschleißheim, München
Date Started: August 27, 1972
Date Finished: September 2, 1972
Although the United States had once been so dominant in the coxed eights that their victory was often assumed, two losses to German crews that had kept them off the podium meant that the Americans were no longer a sure thing. Nonetheless, they were still a factor, although their only recent major international success was a silver medal at the 1971 Pan American Games. Argentina had won gold at that tournament, but most eyes were on reigning World and European champion New Zealand, who sent their 1971 European crew to Munich. The other major players were East Germany, who had won the 1969 European Championships and been runner-up in 1971, and the Soviet Union, who had been runners-up at the 1970 World Championships, the 1969 European Championships, and taken bronze at the 1971 edition. The defending Olympic champions were the West Germans, who had finished third at the 1969 European and 1970 World Championships.
The United States finished with the fastest time in the opening round, but only barely ahead of the New Zealanders, who also won their heat along with the Soviets. In the semi-finals, New Zealand lost its heat to West Germany, while its Eastern counterpart came out ahead of the two world superpowers. In the final, however, it became obvious that New Zealanders had merely been conserving their strength. They took control of the race quickly and won the gold medal comfortably, leaving the United States and East Germany to battle for the remaining podium spots. In an exciting finish, the Americans managed to edge out the East Germans by an incredibly slim margin of 0.06 seconds to take silver.
|4 h1 r2/4||France||FRA|
|5 h1 r2/4||Italy||ITA|
|6 h1 r2/4||Yugoslavia||YUG|