Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Lake Casitas, Los Padres National Forest, California
Date Started: July 30, 1984
Date Finished: August 5, 1984
The men’s double sculls had been the rowing event most impacted by the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics, as Norwegian brothers Frank and Alf Hansen, the reigning Olympic champions and winner of three of the previous four World Championships, were unable to defend their crown. Alf was still competing by the 1984 Sumer Olympics, but Frank had retired, meaning that the remaining Hansen brother had to find a new partner, which he did in the form of Rolf Thorsen. This duo had found some success, winning the 1982 World Championships, coming runner-up in the 1983, and earning bronze in 1981, but Alf was never as dominant as he had been with Frank. East Germany, meanwhile, had won the World Championships in 1981 and 1983 with different lineups but was not present in Los Angeles. Canada, victors at the most recent Pan American Games, was represented by Tim Storm (a 1979 champion) and Peter MacGowan, as Robert Mills, one of the two reigning champions, was participating in the single sculls and the other, Philip Haggerty, did not attend the 1984 Games.
The opening heats went to Andreas Schmelz and Georg Agrikola of West Germany, the reigning World bronze medalists, who had the fastest time overall, and the Belgian duo of Dirk Crois and Pierre-Marie Deloof, which was somewhat surprising as Belgium had never won a medal in this event at the World Championships, and only Crois had international experience as a senior. Even more surprising was the elimination of Hansen and Thorsen in the repêchage, which left the final wide open. The pair from the United States, Bradley Lewis and Paul Enquist, took advantage of this and pushed forward to win the first Olympic rowing gold medal for the United States since 1964. The Belgian duo captured silver while Yugoslavia’s Zoran Pančić and Milorad Stanulov,the 1980 Olympic runners-up, earned bronze. Along with Ann Haesebrouck’s bronze in the women’s single sculls, Belgium’s second-place finish was one of its first two Olympic rowing medals since Michel Knuysen and Bob Baetens took silver in the coxless pairs in 1952.