Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Eton Dorney, Windsor
Date Started: July 28, 2012
Date Finished: August 2, 2012
In the men’s lightweight coxless fours Denmark, the 2008 Olympic Champions, and Australia, the most recent World Champions, were seen as the teams to beat. Two of the Danes, Morten Jørgensen and Eskild Ebbesen, were veterans from Beijing and Ebbsen, who had been an Olympian since 1994, had three gold and one Olympic bronze medal to his name. On the Australian side, each rower had been to at least one prior Olympics and two, Ben Cureton who won silver in 2004, and Anthony Edwards, who won silver in 2000 and 2004 and bronze in the double sculls in 1996, had Olympic medals from earlier editions of the Games. The British team was strong as well: three had gold medals in the event from the 2010 World Champions and the fourth, Peter Chambers, had a gold medal from the 2011 World Championships in coxless pairs.
All three of these teams, along with Switzerland, the Netherlands, and South Africa, made it through the heats and the semifinals. In the finals Denmark shot out to a fair lead and kept it through the first three quarters of the race, but it was obvious that the fight for the podium would go down to the wire, as the Danes never managed to pull completely away from the tight pack of the competition. In the final stretch it looked to be a fight between Britain and Denmark for the gold but an outstanding push from the unheralded South African team caught up and, in the final strokes, outpaced both teams. The South Africans were unaware at first that they had won the race and launched into celebration once they realized their accomplishment. Britain took home a well-earned silver medal and the defending champions Denmark settled for bronze, while the World Champion Australians finished off the podium in fourth.