Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Schinias Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre, Schinias National Park
Date Started: August 14, 2004
Date Finished: August 21, 2004
Great Britain was the reigning Olympic champion, the 2001 World Champion, and the 2002 and 2003 World runner-up in the men’s coxless fours and, even with the retirement of the great [Steven Redgrave], was considered the favorite to take the event at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Two members of their lineup, [James Cracknell] and [Matthew Pinsent], were returning from 2000, while Pinsent had also been the 1992 and 1996 Olympic champion in the coxless pairs with Redgrave. Germany and Canada were the 2002 and 2003 World Champions respectively, the former of whom was also the 2001 runner-up and the 2003 bronze medalist. This left Slovenia as the only other recent World Championship medalist, having won bronze in 2001.
The opening heats were won by Canada, Australia, and Great Britain, the latter of whom had the fastest time of the round. Great Britain also posted the fastest time in the semi-finals, but the Canadians were only 0.24 seconds behind in winning their own heat. The finals came down to a drive to the line between these two nations, who were far ahead of the rest of the field, an exciting finish in which the Britons emerged victorious by only 0.08 seconds. Italy came in for a bronze medal, buffered by comfortable margins in front and behind.