Host City: Moskva, Soviet Union
Venue(s): Canoeing and Rowing Basin, Krylatskoye Sports Complex, Moskva
Date Started: July 20, 1980
Date Finished: July 27, 1980
East Germany had won the gold medal in the coxless fours at six of the last seven World Championships and had not lost an Olympic final since it began competing independently, which made them strong favorites at the 1980 Summer Olympics. The nation sent three defending Olympic champions, Siegfried Brietzke (who also had a gold medal from the 1972 coxless pairs), Andreas Decker, and Stefan Semmler, to Moscow, all of whom had four World Championship titles, and newcomer Jürgen Thiele. East Germany’s only World Championship miss had come in 1978, when the Soviet Union edged them out. Among the Soviets’ entry at the Games was Valery Dolinin, a 1976 Olympic bronze medalist and 1978 World Champion.
The Soviet Union and East Germany annihilated their competition in the opening round, each winning their heat by a margin of over 11 seconds. The final round was no contest, with East Germany winning gold comfortably ahead of the Soviet Union, who in turn was well-beyond Great Britain when they took silver. Great Britain’s bronze was not a huge surprise: their quartet of John Beattie, Ian McNuff, David Townsend, and Martin Cross had had the same result at the last two editions of the World Championships.