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| Event type

Eights, Men

Date23 – 27 November 1956
StatusOlympic
LocationLake Wendouree, Ballarat, Victoria
Participants90 from 10 countries

The rowing tournament at the Melbourne Olympics signed off in its signature fashion with the coxed eights event, in which the United States was, as always, the overwhelming favorite: since it had first been contested in 1900, the United States had never lost (Great Britain won in 1908 and 1912 when the Americans did not submit a crew). The Soviet Union, however, had won every edition of the European Championships since the last Olympics, while the Canadian crew included two members, Robert Wilson and Laurie West, who had helped their nation win the event at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

Perhaps conserving their strength, the United States was not as dominant as it had been in the past: its time in the opening round was bested by several nations and it survived to the semifinals only by winning the repêchage. They were stronger in the semi-finals, however, and captured the fastest time in that round, eliminating the Soviet Union in the process. It seemed to most that the final would result in another easy win for the Americans, but this was not to be the case. The race began with a battle for the lead between the Australians and the Canadians, the latter of whom emerged victorious shortly by the halfway point, only to be passed by the Americans. Unlike in previous editions, the United States did not pull away to win by a large margin, but held off the Canadians only long enough to win the gold by less than two seconds. Australia tired near the end, assuring Canada a silver medal, but finished far ahead of Sweden to capture bronze.

PosNrBoatNOCR1R1 RepSFFinal
1United StatesUSA6:09.1 (3 h1)7:09.9 (1)6:55.1 (1 h1)6:35.2 (1)Gold
Tom CharltonDave WightJohn CookeDon BeerCaldwell EsselstynCharles GrimesRusty WailesBob MoreyWilliam Becklean
2CanadaCAN6:07.1 (2 h1)6:57.0 (1 h2)6:37.1 (2)Silver
Philip KueberDick McClureRobert WilsonDavid HelliwellWaynne PrettyBill McKerlichDouglas McDonaldLaurie WestCarl Ogawa
3AustraliaAUS6:05.8 (1 h1)6:55.6 (2 h1)6:39.2 (3)Bronze
Michael AikmanDavid BoykettFred BenfieldJim HowdenGarth MantonNeville HowellAdrian MongerBrian DoyleHarold Hewitt
4SwedenSWE6:06.4 (1 h3)7:08.4 (2 h2)6:48.1 (4)
Olle LarssonLennart AnderssonKjell HanssonRune AnderssonLennart HanssonGösta ErikssonIvar AronssonEvert GunnarssonBertil Göransson
3 h1 r3/4Soviet UnionURS6:06.5 (2 h3)7:18.3 (3 h1)
Ernest VerbinBoris FyodorovSlava AmiragovLeonid GissenYevgeny SamsonovAnatoly AntonovGeorgy GushchenkoVladimir KryukovVladimir Petrov
3 h2 r3/4CzechoslovakiaTCH6:09.3 (1 h2)7:12.9 (3 h2)
Josef VěntusEduard AntochCtibor ReiskupJan ŠvédaJosef ŠvecZdeněk ŽáraJan JindraStanislav LuskMiroslav Koranda
4 h1 r3/4JapanJPN6:11.8 (2 h2)7:24.5 (4 h1)
Yozo IwasakiYasukuni WatanabeSadahiro SunagaYoshiki HikiTakashi ImamuraYasuhiko TakedaMasao HaraJunichi KatoToshiji Eda
4 h2 r3/4ItalyITA6:09.5 (3 h3)7:17.4 (2)7:19.8 (4 h2)
Antonio AmatoSalvatore NuvoliCosimo CampiotoLivio TesconiAntonio CasuarGiancarlo CasaliniSergio TagliapietraArrigo MenicocciVincenzo Rubolotta
3 h1 r2/4Great BritainGBR6:23.9 (4 h1)7:18.1 (3)
Richard WheadonMichael DelahookeIan WelshKenneth MasserSimon TozerAlan WatsonJohn A. RussellChris DavidgeJohn Hinde
4 h1 r2/4FranceFRA6:13.0 (3 h2)– (4)
Santé MarcuzziÉmile ClercRichard DucMaurice BasÉdouard LegueryJean-Jacques VignonMaurice HoudayerRené MassiasseJacques Vilcoq

Round One (23 November 1956 — 16:00)

Winner of each heat advanced to semi-finals

Heat One

PosLaneBoatNOCTime
1AustraliaAUS6:05.8Q
Michael AikmanDavid BoykettFred BenfieldJim HowdenGarth MantonNeville HowellAdrian MongerBrian DoyleHarold Hewitt
2CanadaCAN6:07.1Q
Philip KueberDick McClureRobert WilsonDavid HelliwellWaynne PrettyBill McKerlichDouglas McDonaldLaurie WestCarl Ogawa
3United StatesUSA6:09.1
Tom CharltonDave WightJohn CookeDon BeerCharles GrimesCaldwell EsselstynRusty WailesBob MoreyWilliam Becklean
4Great BritainGBR6:23.9
Richard WheadonMichael DelahookeIan WelshKenneth MasserSimon TozerAlan WatsonJohn A. RussellChris DavidgeJohn Hinde

Heat Two

PosLaneBoatNOCTime
1CzechoslovakiaTCH6:09.3Q
Josef VěntusEduard AntochCtibor ReiskupJan ŠvédaJosef ŠvecZdeněk ŽáraJan JindraStanislav LuskMiroslav Koranda
2JapanJPN6:11.8Q
Yozo IwasakiYasukuni WatanabeSadahiro SunagaYoshiki HikiTakashi ImamuraYasuhiko TakedaMasao HaraJunichi KatoToshiji Eda
3FranceFRA6:13.0
Santé MarcuzziÉmile ClercRichard DucMaurice BasÉdouard LegueryJean-Jacques VignonMaurice HoudayerRené MassiasseJacques Vilcoq

Heat Three

PosLaneBoatNOCTime
1SwedenSWE6:06.4Q
Olle LarssonLennart AnderssonKjell HanssonRune AnderssonLennart HanssonGösta ErikssonIvar AronssonEvert GunnarssonBertil Göransson
2Soviet UnionURS6:06.5Q
Ernest VerbinBoris FyodorovSlava AmiragovLeonid GissenYevgeny SamsonovAnatoly AntonovGeorgy GushchenkoVladimir KryukovVladimir Petrov
3ItalyITA6:09.5
Antonio AmatoSalvatore NuvoliCosimo CampiotoLivio TesconiAntonio CasuarGiancarlo CasaliniSergio TagliapietraArrigo MenicocciVincenzo Rubolotta

Round One Repêchage (24 November 1956 — 17:30)

Winner of each heat advanced to semi-finals

PosLaneBoatNOCTime
1United StatesUSA7:09.9Q
Tom CharltonDave WightJohn CookeDon BeerCharles GrimesCaldwell EsselstynRusty WailesBob MoreyWilliam Becklean
2ItalyITA7:17.4Q
Antonio AmatoSalvatore NuvoliCosimo CampiotoLivio TesconiAntonio CasuarGiancarlo CasaliniSergio TagliapietraArrigo MenicocciVincenzo Rubolotta
3Great BritainGBR7:18.1
Richard WheadonMichael DelahookeIan WelshKenneth MasserSimon TozerAlan WatsonJohn A. RussellChris DavidgeJohn Hinde
4FranceFRA
Santé MarcuzziÉmile ClercRichard DucMaurice BasÉdouard LegueryJean-Jacques VignonMaurice HoudayerRené MassiasseJacques Vilcoq

Semi-Finals (26 November 1956 — 15:30)

Top two finishers in each heat advanced to final

Heat One

PosLaneBoatNOCTime
1United StatesUSA6:55.1Q
Tom CharltonDave WightJohn CookeDon BeerCharles GrimesCaldwell EsselstynRusty WailesBob MoreyWilliam Becklean
2AustraliaAUS6:55.6Q
Michael AikmanDavid BoykettFred BenfieldJim HowdenGarth MantonNeville HowellAdrian MongerBrian DoyleHarold Hewitt
3Soviet UnionURS7:18.3
Ernest VerbinBoris FyodorovSlava AmiragovLeonid GissenYevgeny SamsonovAnatoly AntonovGeorgy GushchenkoVladimir KryukovVladimir Petrov
4JapanJPN7:24.5
Yozo IwasakiYasukuni WatanabeSadahiro SunagaYoshiki HikiTakashi ImamuraYasuhiko TakedaMasao HaraJunichi KatoToshiji Eda

Heat Two

PosLaneBoatNOCTime
1CanadaCAN6:57.0Q
Philip KueberDick McClureRobert WilsonDavid HelliwellWaynne PrettyBill McKerlichDouglas McDonaldLaurie WestCarl Ogawa
2SwedenSWE7:08.4Q
Olle LarssonLennart AnderssonKjell HanssonRune AnderssonLennart HanssonGösta ErikssonIvar AronssonEvert GunnarssonBertil Göransson
3CzechoslovakiaTCH7:12.9
Josef VěntusEduard AntochCtibor ReiskupJan ŠvédaJosef ŠvecZdeněk ŽáraJan JindraStanislav LuskMiroslav Koranda
4ItalyITA7:19.8
Antonio AmatoSalvatore NuvoliCosimo CampiotoLivio TesconiAntonio CasuarGiancarlo CasaliniSergio TagliapietraArrigo MenicocciVincenzo Rubolotta

Final Round (27 November 1956 — 17:30)

PosLaneBoatNOCTime
1United StatesUSA6:35.2
Tom CharltonDave WightJohn CookeDon BeerCharles GrimesCaldwell EsselstynRusty WailesBob MoreyWilliam Becklean
2CanadaCAN6:37.1
Philip KueberDick McClureRobert WilsonDavid HelliwellWaynne PrettyBill McKerlichDouglas McDonaldLaurie WestCarl Ogawa
3AustraliaAUS6:39.2
Michael AikmanDavid BoykettFred BenfieldJim HowdenGarth MantonNeville HowellAdrian MongerBrian DoyleHarold Hewitt
4SwedenSWE6:48.1
Olle LarssonLennart AnderssonKjell HanssonRune AnderssonLennart HanssonGösta ErikssonIvar AronssonEvert GunnarssonBertil Göransson