Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Eton Dorney, Windsor
Date Started: July 28, 2012
Date Finished: August 2, 2012
The veteran Australian duo David Crawshay and Scott Brennan returned in 2012 to defend the gold medal that they had won in the previous Olympics. Their greatest challengers were the New Zealand boat paddled by Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan, who had won the last two World Championships, as well as the Germans Stephan Krüger and Eric Knittel, who had emerged victorious at the 2009 World Championships and had a strong record going into the event. Also a factor were Luka Špik and Iztok Čop of Slovenia. Although they had finished only sixth at the 2008 Games, they had a distinguished rowing history in double sculls that included victories at the 1999, 2005, and 2007 World Championships, silver at the 2004 Summer Olympics, and gold at the 2000 edition. Čop had an additional Olympic medal, bronze from the 1992 Games’ coxless pairs event, and another World Championship gold from 1995 in the single sculls.
Of these four teams, however, only two would make it to the finals, as Australia and Germany were eliminated in the semifinals. In the final Slovenia took an early lead and held it through the first half of the race, but they were eventually overtaken by the Italian team of Alessio Sartori and Romano Battisti. Battisti was a newcomer to the Olympics, but Satori was a seasoned veteran: an Olympian since 1996, he had earned gold in the quadruple sculls in 2000 and bronze in the double sculls alongside Rossano Galtarossa in 2004. He was also a three-time World Champion in quadruple sculls, earning his victories in 1994, 1995, and 1998. The Italians held the lead until the final stretch of the course, but could not hold off the New Zealanders, who were known for their strong sprints. In fact, Cohen and Sullivan had been in last position at the 500m mark, and had only advanced to fifth and third at the 1000m and 1500m marks respectively. Nonetheless they unleashed a fantastic sprint as the line approached and overtook the Italians with relative ease, leaving the veteran Slovenians to settle for bronze.