Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Eton Dorney, Windsor
Date Started: August 7, 2012
Date Finished: August 9, 2012
Belarus was the defending Olympic champion in the men’s K4-1000, as well as the 2009 European and World Champion, but other teams had stepped up to assert their dominance in the event including France (2010 World Champion), Germany (2010 European and 2011 World Champion), and Denmark (2012 European Champion). It was Hungary and Slovakia, however, that were considered slight favorites. Hungary’s crew had Zoltán Kammerer, Olympic gold medalist in the event in 2000 and 2004 and World Champion in 1999. Slovakia had Erik Vlček, runner-up in Beijing and bronze medalist in Athens, and World Champion in 2002 and 2003. Still, the event was unpredictable and many nations who entered possessed credentials that could claim them victory in the tournament.
Slovakia and Hungary started the event looking good by winning their heats and posting two of the three fastest times, with the Czech Republic sandwiched between them. Australia and Germany finished the semi-finals in times faster than any of those nations, meaning that nearly every team in the final had at least some chance of capturing a podium spot. After a false start from Hungary, the Australian team took the lead early on and never relinquished it. Although they were never quite able to escape the pack, they were also never in any real danger of losing their victory, answering every push from the Hungarians at their heels with power of their own. Hungary narrowly captured the silver medal, finishing less than two-tenths of a second ahead of a massive push from the Czech Republic in the final stretch of the course. The Australian victory was a surprising one for, although they had been silver medalists at the last World Championship, they had not performed well at recent World Cup events and were not expected to medal, let alone win the event. The favored Slovakian team, meanwhile, never mounted a true challenge and placed sixth.