The 1900 coxed fours event became the most controversial rowing event in Olympic history. Originally, the winners of the heats, and the runner-up in heat three, which had four entrants, were to advance to the final. But the losers in heats two and three had posted faster times than the winners of heat one, so the officials attempted to conduct another qualifying heat, but they were unable to notify all the contestants.
It was elected to let the heat winners and the three fastest losing boats compete in the final, giving a six-boat final. However, the course only was laid out for four boats, so the heat winners protested and refused to compete. The first final was held among the runner-up in heat two, and the second- and third-place finishers in heat three. This seemed unsatisfactory so a second final was contested among the heat winners. The winner of this final, Cercle de l’Aviron Roubaix, was invited to compete in the second final, but refused to do so. Both finals are usually considered to be Olympic championships.