Host City: München, West Germany
Venue(s): Olympic Regatta Course, Oberschleißheim, München
Date Started: August 27, 1972
Date Finished: September 2, 1972
After their surprising loss to New Zealand at the 1968 Summer Olympics, teams from East and West Germany had resumed their dominance in the coxed fours on the international scene. West won the two intervening European Championships and the World Championships, with their most recent European squad of Peter Berger, Hans-Johann Färber, Gerhard Auer, Alois Bierl, and Uwe Benter representing the nation in Munich. East had been the runners-up at both Europeans and sent a new lineup to the 1972 Games. Norway had been the world runners-up in 1970, while the Soviet Union had taken bronze there and at the 1971 European Championships. Switzerland had captured bronze at the 1969 edition.
As expected, the two Germanys took charge of the opening round, winning their heats along with Switzerland. The Soviet Union put forth an impressive effort in the semi-finals, besting East Germany in their heat, while West Germany cruised to an easier victory in its own heat. The West Germans, however, had saved their best for the final and won the gold medal in record time, leaving their Eastern counterparts to settle for silver. The Soviet Union, meanwhile, lagged and was outperformed by the Czechoslovakians, who stole the bronze medal. The Czechoslovakian crew included Vladimír Petříček, who won a silver medal in the coxed pairs at the same Games.