Host City: MontrÃ©al, Canada
Venue(s): Olympic Basin, Notre Dame Island, MontrÃ©al, QuÃ©bec
Date Started: July 18, 1976
Date Finished: July 25, 1976
Although the 1976 Olympic double sculls event was a little more open than in had been in previous years, most would have considered Norwegian brothers [Frank] and [Alf Hansen] to be serious contenders for the title. Together they had won the 1975 World Championships and been runner-up in 1974, while Frank had also been part of the duo that won silver at the previous Olympics. The East German crew, meanwhile, consisted of [JÃ¼rgen Bertow] and [Uli Schmied], the latter of whom had taken bronze at the last Olympics, gold at the 1974 World Championships, and had won the final edition of the European Championships in 1973. Great Britain could not be counted out either: their pairing of [Chris Baillieu] and [Mike Hart] had won two of the last four Double Sculls Challenge Cups at the Henley Royal Regatta and bronze medals at the last European Championship and the last two World Championships. The defending Olympic champions, the Soviets, had a less prestigious record over the past four years, having taken silver at the final European Championships and won the 1974 Double Challenge Sculls, but they had also not lost an Olympic final in this event since 1960. They sent [Yevgeny Barbakov] and [Gennady Korshikov], the latter of whom was one of the defending gold medalists.
The Hansen brothers obliterated the competition in the opening round, setting a record and allowing only the Soviets and East Germans to come within ten seconds of the time. The semi-finals were much of the same: only Great Britain and West Germany got within ten seconds of the Norwegians, who set an Olympic record. The final was somewhat more competitive, with the Baillieu and Hart making a valiant effort to keep pace with the Hansen brothers, but the Norwegians never relented and rowed to a comfortable, and well-deserved, gold medal. Great Britain settled for silver and East Germany took bronze, keeping the Soviets off the podium for the first time since their inaugural appearance in 1952. Norway, meanwhile, claimed its first ever title in Olympic rowing.