Host City: Montréal, Canada
Venue(s): Olympic Basin, Notre Dame Island, Montréal, Québec
Date Started: July 18, 1976
Date Finished: July 25, 1976
After many decades of American dominance, by 1976 the Olympic coxed eights was now anyone’s for the taking, although the United States could not yet be ignored entirely, as they had won the 1974 World Championships. New Zealand, meanwhile, were the reigning Olympic champions, and five of them returned to Montreal to defend their crown. It was East Germany, however, who had won the event at the final edition of the European Championships (the tournament had been discontinued after 1973), as well as at the 1975 World Championships, and had a strong enough history in the discipline to be considered the favorites.
In the opening round, Australia outperformed both New Zealand and the United States to win in its heat in an Olympic record time, but that mark was soon shattered by the East Germans in their own heat. New Zealand had the fastest time in the repêchage and advanced, but the United States failed to qualify and was eliminated from medal contention. East Germany had an easy win in the final, securing the gold with nearly a three second margin, but it was Great Britain who really impressed the spectators in the final. Having won their heat in the repêchage, the 1974 World runners-up put forth a strong performance and picked up silver in Montreal, their best Olympic performance in the event since 1948. New Zealand rounded out the podium, finishing comfortably ahead of West Germany to take bronze.