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Rowing at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games:

Men's Coxless Fours

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Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Venue(s): Mei Bay, Helsinki
Date Started: July 20, 1952
Date Finished: July 23, 1952

Gold: YUG Yugoslavia
Silver: FRA France
Bronze: FIN Finland


Looking at recent major international tournaments in the coxless fours, it would have been difficult to determine a favourite for the event at the 1952 Summer Olympics. The defending Olympic champions from Italy, [Giuseppe Moioli], [Elio Morille], [Giovanni Invernizzi], and [Francesco Faggi], returned and looked somewhat strong, having won the 1947, 1949, and 1950 European Championships. In 1951, however, they had not factored into the podium, being replaced at the top by Belgium’s [Charles Van Antwerpen], [Jos Rosa], [Harry Elzendoorn], and [Florent Caers]. The 1951 and 1952 Stewards' Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta, which was considered the equivalent of a World Championship at the time, had been won by the Thames Rowing Club, but Britain’s quartet was a hodgepodge of rowers that included [Harry Almond], [John Jones], [James Crowden], and [Adrian Cadbury]. Denmark factored into all of these events, having been the runner-up at the last three European Championships and, with the Hellerup Roklubb, winner of the 1952 Stewards’ Challenge Cup. Three among their entry, [Carl Nielsen], [Harry Nielsen], and [Paul Locht] had taken part in the 1951 Europeans, and they were augmented by [Knud Bruun Jensen].

Among these nations, however, only Great Britain would factor into the final. Denmark was eliminated after the round one repêchage, while Belgium and Italy fell in the semi-finals. The opening heats were dominated by the French and Yugoslavian quartets, who both won the semi-finals convincingly, if not as thoroughly: Norway came second in France’s heat with a time 0.1 seconds faster than Yugoslavia’s, although Great Britain eliminated them in the semi-final repêchage. It was Yugoslavia, however, who reigned supreme in the final: its quartet of [Duje Bonačić], [Velimir Valenta], [Mate Trojanović], and [Petar Šegvić] took gold ahead of France’s [Pierre Blondiaux], [Jean-Jacques Guissart], [Marc Bouissou], and [Roger Gautier]. It was the former nation’s first Olympic medal in rowing and its only gold. Finland’s crew, consisting of [Kauko Wahlsten], [Lauri Nevalainen ], and cousins [Veikko] and [Oiva Lommi], edged out the British squad to win their nation’s first Olympic rowing medal as well, while Poland rounded out the final with a fifth-place finish.

Final Standings

Rank Team NOC Medal
1 Yugoslavia YUG Gold
2 France FRA Silver
3 Finland FIN Bronze
4 Great Britain GBR
5 Poland POL
2 h1 r4/5 Soviet Union URS
2 h2 r4/5 Italy ITA
2 h3 r4/5 Saar SAA
3 h1 r4/5 Norway NOR
3 h2 r4/5 United States USA
3 h3 r4/5 Austria AUT
4 h1 r4/5 Belgium BEL
2 h1 r2/5 Denmark DEN
2 h2 r2/5 Hungary HUN
2 h3 r2/5 Netherlands NED
3 h1 r2/5 South Africa RSA
3 h2 r2/5 Canada CAN