Host City: München, West Germany
Venue(s): Olympic Regatta Course, Oberschleißheim, München
Date Started: August 27, 1972
Date Finished: September 2, 1972
The defending Olympic champions in the coxed pairs were the Italians, but they had not reached the podium at a major international tournament since, except for a silver medal at the 1969 European Championships, and their crew of Giampaolo Tronchin, Mario Semenzato, and Siro Meli was not considered a serious threat at the 1972 Games. The top two contenders were the East Germans, Wolfgang Gunkel, Jörg Lucke, and Klaus-Dieter Neubert, and the Czechoslovakians Vladimír Petříček and brothers Oldřich and Pavel Svojanovský, both of whom had won a European Championship since the last Olympics. The latter had been runners up at the 1971 Europeans, while the East Germans had were silver medalists at the 1970 Worlds, albeit with a different lineup. Lucke was already an Olympic champion, having won gold with Heinz-Jürgen Bothe in the coxless pairs in 1968. The reigning world champions were the Romanian trio of Ştefan Tudor, Ladislau Lovrenschi, and Petre Ceapura, the latter of whom had a bronze medal from the 1969 European Championships.
Czechoslovakia had the fastest time in the heats by far, while the other heats were won by the United States, East Germany, and the Soviet Union, who was the only nation within four seconds of the Czechoslovakian’s time. The Italians were eliminated in the repêchage, while the Soviets fought harder in the semi-finals, defeating Petříček and the Svojanovský brothers by just over half a second. In the final, however, it was East Germany that led the charge and captured gold a comfortable distance ahead of the Czechoslovakians, who settled for silver. The battle for bronze was more hard fought and went down to the line, where a photo-finish showed Romania beating out West Germany by 0.16 seconds. This meant that Romania had captured its first Olympic rowing medal, after two decades of participation.
|3 h1 r2/4||Italy||ITA|
|3 h2 r2/4||Netherlands||NED|
|3 h3 r2/4||Finland||FIN|
|3 h4 r2/4||France||FRA|
|4 h1 r2/4||Austria||AUT|
|4 h2 r2/4||Cuba||CUB|
|4 h3 r2/4||Argentina||ARG|
|4 h4 r2/4||Belgium||BEL|
|5 h4 r2/4||Uruguay||URU|