Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park, Mapo, Shunyi
Date Started: August 9, 2008
Date Finished: August 16, 2008
Great Britain had not lost an Olympic final in the men’s coxless fours since 1996 and had won the event at six of the last nine editions of the World Championships, including 2005 and 2006, making them the favorites at the 2008 Summer Games. They would certainly expect a challenge, however, from Carl Meyer, James Dallinger, Eric Murray, and Hamish Bond, the reigning World Champions from New Zealand. The opening heats were won by Australia, Great Britain, and the Netherlands, with only 0.19 seconds separating their times and only 0.55 seconds between the five fastest finishers, which included the New Zealanders and the Germans. The Netherlands had been the 2005 World runner-up and 2006 and 2007 bronze medalist, while Germany was the 2006 World and 2007 European runner-up. Germany was also the only one of the nations not to be placed in the same heat in the semi-finals, which meant that at least one of the other four would be eliminated, since only three from each heat could advance. The unlucky crew was, surprisingly, the New Zealanders, who struggled to finish even in fourth. Germany, meanwhile, had a difficult time in its own heat against Slovenia and the Czech Republic, the latter of whom were the reigning European Champions. Despite what seemed to be the potential for a close and exciting medal round, the final was fairly spread out, with the Britons, Australians, and French finishing in that order without much in the way of serious challenges.