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Rowing at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games:

Men's Single Sculls

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Seoul, South Korea
Venue(s): Misari Regatta Course, Hanam
Date Started: September 19, 1988
Date Finished: September 24, 1988

Gold: GDR Thomas Lange
Silver: FRG Peter-Michael Kolbe
Bronze: NZL Eric Verdonk

Summary

Pertti Karppinen of Finland attended the 1988 Summer Olympics in the hopes of winning a record fourth Olympic title in the men’s single sculls, while his long-time rival, Peter-Michael Kolbe of West Germany, was hoping to snatch the gold medal after two attempts that ended with silver. Both of these men had won one of each type of medal at the last three World Championships, but Kolbe had a better all-time record of World Championship titles with five against Karppinen’s two and had also earned a victory in the Diamond Challenge Sculls at the Henley Royal Regatta in 1987. Also in contention was Thomas Lange of East Germany, who came from a nation with a strong rowing tradition and was the reigning World Champion. The reigning Pan American champion, Jesús Posse of Uruguay, was also present in Seoul, as was the 1988 winner of the Diamond Challenge Sculls, Australia’s Hamish McGlashan. Another interesting entry was Dirk Crois of Belgium, who had won silver in the 1984 Olympic double sculls.

Lange, McGlashan, Verdonk, and Sweden’s Fredrik Hultén were the winners of the heats in the opening round, Posse and Karppinen were distant seconds in McGlashan and Hultén’s heats respectively, while Kolbe finished behind Lange and Andrew Sudduth of the United States, the latter of whom was the runner-up at the 1985 World Championships. Crois, meanwhile, was third in Verdonk’s heat and was eliminated in the repêchage. The greatest shock, however, came in the semi-finals, when the defending Olympic champion not only failed to qualify for the finals, but finished last in his heat, over half a minute behind Kolbe, the winner. Posse and Hultén were also eliminated after finishing fourth in their heats. Kolbe now seemed to have a strong claim to Olympic gold, but Lange had outperformed him in both the opening round and the semi-finals, and did so again in the medal round, stealing gold in Olympic record time and relegating Kolbe, for the third time, to silver. Verdonk came in far behind the Germans for bronze, but still comfortably ahead of McGlashan.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Thomas Lange 24 East Germany GDR Gold
2 Peter-Michael Kolbe 35 West Germany FRG Silver
3 Eric Verdonk 29 New Zealand NZL Bronze
4 Hamish McGlashan 24 Australia AUS
5 Kajetan Broniewski 25 Poland POL
6 Andrew Sudduth 26 United States USA
7 Pertti Karppinen 35 Finland FIN
8 Jüri Jaanson 22 Soviet Union URS
9 Fredrik Hultén 21 Sweden SWE
10 Giovanni Calabrese 21 Italy ITA
11 Jesús Posse 22 Uruguay URU
12 Henk Jan Zwolle 23 Netherlands NED
3 h1 r2/4 Dirk Crois 27 Belgium BEL
3 h2 r2/4 Pascal Body 27 France FRA
3 h3 r2/4 Dênis Marinho 25 Brazil BRA
3 h4 r2/4 Arnold Jonke 25 Austria AUT
4 h1 r2/4 Masahiro Sakata 26 Japan JPN
4 h2 r2/4 Waleed Al-Mohamed Abdulmuhsin 27 Kuwait KUW
4 h3 r2/4 Im Gyeong-Seok 19 South Korea KOR
4 h4 r2/4 Juan Félix 29 Puerto Rico PUR
5 h3 r2/4 Edgardo Maerina 24 Philippines PHI
5 h4 r2/4 Gordon Henry 34 Canada CAN