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
Although most rowing events were marred by the absence of the Eastern Bloc, particularly East Germany, due to the Soviet-led boycott of the Games, it had little impact on the single sculls because a boycotting nation had won only one medal at the last three World Championships (the Soviets took silver in 1982). Furthermore, the event had been won at the last two Olympics by Pertti Karppinen of Finland, who was the favorite to defend his crown for a third time in Los Angeles. Unlike in 1980, however, he would not go unchallenged, as he would face West Germany’s Peter-Michael Kolbe, the 1976 Olympic runner-up and a four-time World Champion. The threat from Argentina’s Ricardo Ibarra, three-time Pan-American champion and winner of the 1980 Diamond Challenge Sculls at the Henley Royal Regatta, could not be ignored either.
The opening round was dominated by Karppinen, who finished over three seconds ahead of the other heat winner, Robert Mills of Canada, and over seven and a half seconds faster than Kolbe, the runner-up in the Finn’s heat. Mills was new to the international scene, having made his début at the 1983 Pan American Games, but he had already gold medals in the double and quadruple sculls. He was not usually a single sculler, but attempted to qualify for Canada in that event after tensions rose concerning his placement on the quadruple sculls crew. Karppinen and Mills faced each other in the semi-finals and the Canadian forced the Finn into his smallest margin of victory of the last two Olympics. In the other semi-final heat, meanwhile, Kolbe barely scraped by with a victory over Ibarra. In the final, however, Kolbe, and especially Karppinen, were untouchable. Finland won gold with room to breathe while West Germany took silver over eight seconds ahead of bronze medalist Mills. Karppinen therefore became the second single sculler, after Vyacheslav Ivanov of the Soviet Union, to win the event at three consecutive Olympics.
|2||Peter-Michael Kolbe||30||West Germany||FRG||Silver|
|4||John Biglow||26||United States||USA|
|7||Gary Reid||23||New Zealand||NZL|
|10||Juan Félix||25||Puerto Rico||PUR|
|11||José Ramón Oyarzábal||27||Spain||ESP|
|4 h1 r2/4||Lars Bjønnes||21||Norway||NOR|
|4 h2 r2/4||Shunsuke Horiuchi||24||Japan||JPN|
|4 h3 r2/4||Herman van den Eerenbeemt||21||Netherlands||NED|
|5 h1 r2/4||Edgar Nanne||31||Guatemala||GUA|