Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Lake Casitas, Los Padres National Forest, California
Date Started: July 31, 1984
Date Finished: August 5, 1984
As East Germany had won the Olympic men’s coxless fours event since it began competing independently in 1968, its absence due to the Soviet-led boycott was felt at the 1984 Summer Olympics. The nation had not performed as well at the World Championships, however, and the last two World Champions, Switzerland and West Germany, were present in Los Angeles. In fact, it was the absence of the traditionally strong Soviet Union crew (the 1980 Olympic runners-up, as well as the 1981 World Champions and 1982 and 1983 runners-up) that probably had more of an impact in leaving the podium open. Great Britain, the 1980 bronze medalists, had a slight advantage, due to its representatives’ recent success in the Stewards' Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta, but even this was mitigated by the presence of the Swiss, whose delegation had won the event twice prior to the most recent edition.
As if to highlight how open the absence of the Eastern Bloc had left this event, the round one heats were won by New Zealand and the United States, neither of whom had ever won a World Championship medal in this event (although the United States were the reigning Pan American runners-up). Great Britain, meanwhile, came last in its heat during the repêchage and was eliminated. In the final, New Zealand garnered a sizeable lead and, by the end, was mostly unchallenged as it drove towards the finish line to win gold. The United States took silver while Denmark, who had qualified with the slowest time in the repêchage, came up from behind to win a surprise bronze ahead of the West Germans and the Swiss.