Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Misari Regatta Course, Hanam
Date Started: September 20, 1988
Date Finished: September 25, 1988
The Soviet Union had won the men’s quadruple sculls at the last two editions of the World Championships, but only one of those medalists, Sergey Kinyakin, represented their nation in this event at the 1988 Summer Olympics. Canada, meanwhile, sent its entire 1985 World Championship squad, Paul Douma, Doug Hamilton, Mel LaForme, and Robert Mills to Seoul, among whom Hamilton was an 1984 Olympic bronze medalist in the event and Mills had won the same medal in that year’s single sculls tournament. All had been bronze medalists at the 1986 and 1987 World Championships.
The opening heats were won by East Germany, Italy, and Norway. East Germany posted the fastest time, albeit only 0.07 seconds faster than Italy, and brought one of its 1985 World runners-up, Jens Köppen to the 1988 Olympics. Norway, meanwhile, sent its 1987 World silver medal-winning crew, Lars Bjønnes, Rolf Thorsen , Vetle Vinje, and Alf Hansen, the latter of whom was an Olympic champion in the double sculls from 1976. It was the Italians, however, who garnered the most attention in the tournament, first by winning their semi-final heat in Olympic record time, then by claiming gold for a nation that had earned only one previous World Championship medal (bronze in 1983) by a margin of over 1½ seconds in the final. Norway, meanwhile, settled for silver while East Germany beat out the Soviets by over a second to capture bronze.