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history of australian rowing at olympic games

Olympic Games—Munich 1972

Rowing Team

This team suffered much ill fortune. The selected six seat for the eight, Ian McWhirter, succumbed to cancer and passed away not long after the Games. The selected stroke of the four, Brian Denny, was electrocuted a few months before the Games. Naturally these incidents had a morale sapping effect on the whole team. In addition, Alan Callaway became ill at Munich after competition finished.

The rowing team standing behind their four which was named in honour of Brian Denny

The rowing at the Games was dominated by the two Germanys. East Germany had crews in every final. However New Zealand won gold in the eight and silver in the coxless four. This regatta saw the appearance of crews from Chile, North Korea and Bermuda for the first time.


The selection process was unchanged from earlier years. The King's Cup was conducted in difficult conditions in Franklin Tasmania and the winning crew from NSW was selected after that race. Some trialling occurred the next day but the coxed four was selected after subsequent trialling in Brisbane. The coxless pair were also the emergencies for the eight.

Men's Eight

Bow Malcolm C Shaw, 2 Gary M Pearce, 3 Kerry P Jelbart, 4 Robert D Paver, 5 Richard A Curtin, 6 John E Clarke, 7 Michael D Morgan, str Bryan F Curtin and cox Alan R Grover

Men's Coxed Four

Cox: Vern Bowrey, Str: Peter Shakespear, 3: Will Baillieu, 2: Philip Wilkinson, Bow: John Lee

The Course

The racing was conducted on an artificial course which was well designed to exacting standards. The vast grandstands were fully booked.

Australian Team

Men's Eight - Eighth

Men's Coxed Four – Thirteenth

Men's Coxless Pair – Eliminated in repechage

Manager: Robert C Hemery (WA)
Grading & Selection Committee: Robert Aitken (VIC), Lindsay Southcott (SA) & Maurice Grace (NSW)


Men's Single Scull

E1:1st ARG, 2nd FRG, 3rd SUI, 4th CHI, 5th BER, 6th MEX
E2:1st URS, 2nd GDR, 3rd IRL, 4th USA, 5th TCH, 6th SWE
E3: 1st BUL, 2nd NZL, 3rd GBR, 4th DEN, 5th JPN, 6th POR
R1: 1st FRG, 2nd IRL, 3rd DEN, 4th SWE, 5th BER
R2: 1st GDR, 2nd GBR, 3rd TCH, 4th CHI, 5th POR
R3: 1st USA, 2nd SUI, 3rd NZL, 4th JPN, 5th MEX
SF1: 1st ARG, 2nd GDR, 3rd SUI, 4th BUL, 5th IRL, 6th TCH
SF2: 1st URS, 2nd USA, 3rd FRG, 4th DEN, 5th NZL, 6th GBR
Final: 1st URS 7:10.12 (Yuri Malishev), 2nd ARG 7:11.53 (Alberto Demiddi), 3rd GDR 7:14.45 (Wolfgang Guldenpfennig), 4th FRG 7:20.81, 5th USA 7:24.81, 6th SUI 7:31.99

Men's Double Scull

E1: 1st GBR, 2nd GDR, 3rd BEL, 4th ARG, 5th CAN
E2: 1st TCH, 2nd SUI, 3rd NOR, 4th USA, 5th POL
E3: 1st URS, 2nd NED, 3rd FRG, 4th JPN, 5th MEX
E4: 1st DEN, 2nd FRA, 3rd AUT, 4thPOL
R1: 1st FRA, 2nd FRG, 3rd USA, 4th CAN
R2: 1st NOR, 2nd NED, 3rd ARG
R3: 1st SUI, 2nd BEL, 3rd MEX, 4th POR
R4: 1st GDR. 2nd POL, 3rd JPN, 4th AUT
SF1: 1st GDR, 2nd GBR, 3rd TCH, 4th NED, 5th SUI, 6th FRG
SF2: 1st DEN, 2nd URS, 3rd NOR, 4th FRA, 5th BEL, 6th POL
Final B: 7th NED, 8th SUI, 9th BEL, 10th FRG, 11th FRA, 12th POL
Final: 1st URS 7:01.77 (Alekandr Timoshinin, Gennady Korshikov), 2nd NOR 7:02.58 (Frank Hansen, Svien Thogersen), 3rd GDR 7:05.55Joachim Bohmer, Hans-Ulrich Schmied), 4th DEN 7:14.19, 5th GBR 7:16.29, 6th TCH 7:17.60

Men's Coxless Pair

E1: 1st FRG, 2nd ROM, 3rd GBR, 4th HUN, 5th MEX
E2: 1st SUI, 2nd POL, 3rd NED, 4th USA, 5th AUT
E3: 1st URS, 2nd NOR, 3rd AUS, 4th BRA, 5th PRK
E4: 1st GDR, 2nd TCH, 3rd YUG, 4th CAN
R1: 1st TCH, 2nd USA, 3rd AUS, 4th MEX
R2: 1st NED, 2nd NOR, 3rd HUN
R3: 1st POL, 2nd GBR, 3rd CAN 4th PRK
R4: 1st ROM, 2nd YUG, 3rd BRA, 4th AUT
SF1: 1st POL, 2nd SUI, 3rd ROM, 4th USA, 5th NOR, 6th FRG
SF2: 1st GDR, 2nd NED, 3rd TCH, 4th URS, 5th GBR, 6th YUG
Final B: 7th FRG, 8th URS, 9th USA, 10th NOR, 11th YUG, 12th GBR
Final: 1st GDR 6:53.16 (Siegried Brietzke, Wolfgang Mager), 2nd SUI 6:57.06 (Heinrich Fischer, Alfred Bachmann), 3rd NED 6:58.70 (Roelof Luynenburg, Rudolf Stokvis), 4th TCH 6:58.77, 5th POL 7:02.74, 6th ROM 7:42.90

The Australian pair did not produce racing of a high enough standard and was eliminated in the repechage. In the heat they were beaten by the eventual 8th and 10th placed crews and in the repechage by the 4th and 10th placed crews.

Men's Coxed Pair

E1: 1st TCH, 2nd SUI, 3rd ROM, 4th CAN, 5th NOR, 6th BEL
E2: 1st USA, 2nd POL, 3rd NED, 4th AUT, 5th URU
E3: 1st GDR, 2nd BUL, 3rd ITA, 4th FRA, 5th ARG
E4: 1st URS, 2nd GBR, 3rd FRG, 4th FIN, 5th CUB
R1: 1st GBR, 2nd NOR, 3rd ITA, 4th AUT
R2: 1st BUL, 2nd CAN, 3rd NED, 4th CUB
R3: 1st ROM, 2nd POL, 3rd FIN, 4th ARG
R4: 1st FRG, 2nd SUI, 3rd FRA, 4th BEL, 5th URU
SF1: 1st GDR, 2nd FRG, 3rd POL, 4th GBR, 5th USA, 6th CAN
SF2: 1st URS, 2nd TCH, 3rd ROM, 4th BUL, 5th NOR, 6th SUI
Final B: 7th NOR, 8th GBR, 9th CAN, 10th BUL, 11th USA, 12th SUI
Final: 1st GDR 7:17.25 (Wolfgang Gunkel, Jorg Lucke, Klaus-Dieter Neubert), 2nd TCH 7:19.57 (Oldrich Svojanovsky, Pavel Svojovsky, Vladimir Petricek), 3rd ROM 7:21.36 (Stefan Tudor, Petre Ceapura, Ladislau Lowrenschi), 4th FRG 7:21.52, 5th URS 7:24.44, 6th POL 7:28.92

Men's Coxless Four

E1: 1st ROM, 2nd NOR, 3rd CAN, 4th YUG, 5th PRK
E2: 1st NZL, 2nd SUI, 3rd ARG, 4th HUN, 5th MEX
E3: 1st GDR, 2nd GBR, 3rd FRG, 4th ITA, 5th FRA
E4: 1st URS, 2nd DEN, 3rd BUL, 4th USA, 5th CUB
R1: 1st FRG, 2nd DEN, 3rd HUN, 4th PRK
R2: 1st GBR, 2nd CUB, 3rd ARG, 4th YUG
R3: 1st SUI, 2nd CAN, 3rd FRA, 4th USA
R4: 1st ITA, 2nd BUL, 3rd NOR, 4th MEX
SF1: 1st NZL, 2nd GDR, 3rd FRG, 4th CAN, 5th ITA, 6th CUB
SF2: 1st ROM, 2nd DEN, 3rd URS, 4th GBR, 5th SUI, 6th BUL
Final B: 7th GBR, 8th BUL 9th CAN, 10th ITA, 11th SUI, 12th CUB
Final: 1st GDR 6:24.27 (Frank Forberger, Frank Ruhle, Dieter Grahn, Dieter Schubert), 2nd NZL 6:25.64 (Dick Tonks, Dudley Storey, Ross Collinge, Noel Mills), 3rd FRG 6:28.41 (Joachim Ehrig, Peter Funnekoetter, Franz Held, Wolfgang Plottke), 4th URS 6:31.92, 5th ROM 6:35.60, 6th DEN 6:37.28

The East German crew had been together for 11 years and were unbeaten for six years in this class of boat and were the current Olympic Champions. They were masters of their sport. The New Zealanders had no respect for such a record and put up a demanding fight in what became the great race of the regatta. The Germans had a lead of 21/100 of a second at the 500 metres. The New Zealanders lead by 92/100 second at the 1000 metres and put up a huge effort in the third 500 metres to take a lead of a length at the 1500 metres. The last 500 metres belonged to the Germans who came back with a great finish to win by less than a second. This was a great duel.

Men's Coxed Four

E1: 1st FRG, 2nd URS, 3rd NZL, 4th USA, 5th NOR
E2: 1st SUI, 2nd ITA, 3rd GBR. 4th AUS, 5th DEN
E3: 1st GDR, 2nd TCH, 3rd NED, 4th CAN
R: 1st USA, 2nd CAN, 3rd NOR, 4th AUS, 5th DEN
SF1: 1st FRG, 2nd TCH, 3rd NZL, 4th SUI, 5th NOR 6th GBR
SF2: 1st URS, 2nd GDR, 3rd USA, 4th NED, 5th CAN, 6th ITA
Final B: 7th NED, 8th SUI, 9th NOR, 10th GBR, 11th ITA, 12th CAN
Final: 1st FRG 6:31.85 (Peter Berger, Hans-Johann Farber, Gerhard Auer, Alois Bierl, Uwe Bender), 2nd GDR 6:33.30 (Dietrich Zander, Reinhard Gust, Eckhard martens, Rolf Jobst, Vladinir Petricek),3rd TCH 6:35.64 (Otakar Marecek, Karel Neffe, Vladimir Janos, Frantisek Provaznik, Vladimir Petricek) 4th URS 6:37.71,5th USA 6:41.85, 6th NZL 6:42.55

Unfortunately the Australian four was outclassed. In the heat it was beaten by the eventual 8th, 10th and 11th placed crews, and in the repechage beaten by the eventual 5th ,9th and 12th placed crews. The loss of Brian Denny, one of the key members of this crew, was a key factor in the end result.

Image taken from the Village Newspaper showing the second heat of the coxed four at Munich
From the camera - Italy, Australia, Switzerland, Great Britain, Denmark.

Men's Eight

E1: 1st USA, 2nd FRG, 3rd AUT 4th ITA, 5th FRA
E2: 1st NZL, 2nd HUN, 3rd ARG, 4th POL, 5th YUG
E3: 1st URS, 2nd NED, 3rd GDR, 4th AUS, 5th TCH
R: 1st AUS, 2nd TCH, 3rd POL, 4th FRA, 5th ITA, 6th YUG
SF1: 1st GDR, 2nd URS, 3rd USA, 4th HUN, 5th TCH, 6th AUT
SF2: 1st FRG, 2nd NZL, 3rd POL, 4th AUS, 5th ARG, 6th NED
Final B: 7th HUN, 8th AUS, 9th NED, 10th TCH, 11th ARG, 12th AUT
Final: 1st NZL 6:08.94 (Tony Hurt, Wybo Veldman, Dick Joyce, John Hunter, Lindsay Wilson, Athol Earl, Trevor Coker, Gary Robertson, Simon Dickie), 2nd USA 6:11.61 (Lawrence Terry, Fritz Hobbs, Peter Raymond, Timothy Mickelson, Eugene Clapp, William Hobbs, Cleve Livingston, Michael Livingston, Paul Hoffman), 3rd GDR 6:11.67 (Hans-Joachim Borzym, Jorg Landvoigt, Harold Dimke, Manfred Schneider, Hartmut Schreiber, Manfred Schmorde, Bernd Landvoigt, Heinrich Mederow, Dietmar Schwarz), 4th URS 6:14.48, 5th FRG 6:14.91, 6th POL 6:29.35.

The Australians had a tough heat against the Americans and East Gemans who finished the silver and bronze medals. The repechage was a comfortable win, some 4.5 seconds ahead of the second placed crew. Unfortunately the Australians could not meet the challenges of the semi final and had to fight out a tightly contested petite final.

The final was a great affair with New Zealand burning off the opposition with a two second lead at the 500 metre mark and three seconds at the 1000 metre mark. The New Zealanders finished comfortably. Karl Adams' eight could not keep up with the pace and finished fifth. The margin between second and third was 6/100 of a second. The New Zealanders had to fund raise through bingo games and raffles to pay for the tour. As an aside, the New Zealand bow man, Tony Hurt lived and rowed in Sydney in the late 1960s with Mosman Rowing Club. The Late great Bruce Evans is alleged over a beer to have taken credit for Tony's subsequent success in 1972 and 1976.

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