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Rowing at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games:

Men's Single Sculls

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Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Lake Casitas, Los Padres National Forest, California
Date Started: July 31, 1984
Date Finished: August 5, 1984

Gold: FIN Pertti Karppinen
Silver: FRG Peter-Michael Kolbe
Bronze: CAN Robert Mills


Although most rowing events were marred by the absence of the Eastern Bloc, particularly East Germany, due to the Soviet-led boycott of the Games, it had little impact on the single sculls because a boycotting nation had won only one medal at the last three World Championships (the Soviets took silver in 1982). Furthermore, the event had been won at the last two Olympics by Pertti Karppinen of Finland, who was the favorite to defend his crown for a third time in Los Angeles. Unlike in 1980, however, he would not go unchallenged, as he would face West Germany’s [Peter-Michael Kolbe], the 1976 Olympic runner-up and a four-time World Champion. The threat from Argentina’s [Ricardo Ibarra], three-time Pan-American champion and winner of the 1980 Diamond Challenge Sculls at the Henley Royal Regatta, could not be ignored either.

The opening round was dominated by Karppinen, who finished over three seconds ahead of the other heat winner, [Robert Mills] of Canada, and over seven and a half seconds faster than Kolbe, the runner-up in the Finn’s heat. Mills was new to the international scene, having made his début at the 1983 Pan American Games, but he had already gold medals in the double and quadruple sculls. He was not usually a single sculler, but attempted to qualify for Canada in that event after tensions rose concerning his placement on the quadruple sculls crew. Karppinen and Mills faced each other in the semi-finals and the Canadian forced the Finn into his smallest margin of victory of the last two Olympics. In the other semi-final heat, meanwhile, Kolbe barely scraped by with a victory over Ibarra. In the final, however, Kolbe, and especially Karppinen, were untouchable. Finland won gold with room to breathe while West Germany took silver over eight seconds ahead of bronze medalist Mills. Karppinen therefore became the second single sculler, after [Vyacheslav Ivanov] of the Soviet Union, to win the event at three consecutive Olympics.

View a Phase of this EventFinal StandingsSemi-FinalsRound One RepêchageRound OneFinal Round

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Pertti Karppinen 31 Finland FIN Gold
2 Peter-Michael Kolbe 30 West Germany FRG Silver
3 Robert Mills 26 Canada CAN Bronze
4 John Biglow 26 United States USA
5 Ricardo Ibarra 33 Argentina ARG
6 Kostas Kontomanolis 26 Greece GRE
7 Gary Reid 23 New Zealand NZL
8 Raimund Haberl 34 Austria AUT
9 Bengt Nilsson 29 Sweden SWE
10 Juan Félix 25 Puerto Rico PUR
11 José Ramón Oyarzábal 27 Spain ESP
12 Denis Gaté 26 France FRA
4 h1 r2/4 Lars Bjønnes 21 Norway NOR
4 h2 r2/4 Shunsuke Horiuchi 24 Japan JPN
4 h3 r2/4 Herman van den Eerenbeemt 21 Netherlands NED
5 h1 r2/4 Edgar Nanne 31 Guatemala GUA