Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Eton Dorney, Windsor
Date Started: July 28, 2012
Date Finished: August 1, 2012
Germany had won the last three World Championships in the men’s eights and were heavily favored to take the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Usually a significant force in the event, they were seeking redemption for their performance at the 2008 Games, where they failed to make the final. The honor of Olympic victory that year went to the Canadians and three of them (Malcolm Howard, Andrew Byrnes, and Brian Price) returned in 2012 to defend their title. No one counted out the strong British team either, who had 1992 Olympic champion Greg Searle on the squad as well as the home advantage of thousands of cheering fans, including Princes William and Harry, along Eton Dorney.
Germany and the United States qualified for the final during the heats, but perhaps the biggest story was the disappointing performance of the Canadians, who were dead last in their heat with a time slower than all but one of the other seven teams. They redeemed themselves in the repechage, however, coming in second place with the third fastest time of the entire event and earning a place in the final alongside Great Britain, Netherlands, and Australia. The final was a tight race; although Germany held the lead throughout the duration, perhaps every team had a chance at reaching the podium during some point of the course. For a time it looked as if Britain might overtake Germany to earn its first gold medal of the day, but they were edged out by both the Germans and the Canadians, taking home bronze. A short time later, however, the nation earned its first victory of the Games when Helen Glover and Heather Stanning took first place in the women’s coxless pairs.