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history of australian rowing at olympic games

Olympic Games—Los Angeles 1984

These Games also suffered from interference from politicians with many Eastern European countries boycotting the Games in retaliation for the 1980 boycott and actions by America.

Although many reports from the time indicated that the competition was lessened due to the boycott many results were consistent with international competition: for example the men's eight finished third in 1983 and 1984.

Thomas Keller, President of FISA, stated categorically that boycotting or not participating in sporting contests could in no way be considered an effective means of achieving political objectives. The truth, he said, would eventually dawn on people. Long live sport, transcending all political, social, racial, economic or religious barriers!

Women's coxed four

Bronze Medallists Women's Coxed Four

These Games were important for women's rowing in Australia with a well earned bronze.

These were the first Games when the resources of the Australian Institute of Sport became available to selected crews. Rowing was subsequently included as an AIS scholarship sport for the first time in 1985.


The trials following the National Championships were conducted at Lake Barrington Tasmania and so was one of the first events conducted at that venue. This selection followed the last King's Cup win by NSW until 2004.

One of the first selection issues was the appointment of the coach of the men's eight which was Reinhold Batschi even though he was not an active coach being the National Coaching Director. The prominent coach at the time was Rusty Robertson and he was given the quad scull to coach. The quad had been well developed by David Yates who had coached Gary Gulloch and Paul Reedy in Victoria. Tony Lovrich had come to Melbourne from WA to train with the Victorians. David had to wait until 1988 to coach the quad scull.

Men's eight

Bronze Medallists Men's Eight

Craig Muller (bow, NSW), Clyde Hefer (2, NSW), Sam Patten (3, VIC), Tim Willoughby (4, SA), Ian Edmunds (5, QLD), Jim Battersby (6, NSW), Ion Popa (7, VIC), Stephen Evans (str, NSW), Gavin Threadgold (cox, SA)

The eight was based around the then dominant Mosman four. The trialling was in both pairs and fours as had then become usual. The women's single scull and men's pair competed but were reserves for the team.


Romania dominated the women's events with five gold and one silver from the six women's events.

Women's Single Scull

E1: 1st USA, 2nd CAN, 3rd NED, 4th AUT, 5th FRG, 6th AUS
E2: 1st GBR, 2nd BEL, 3rd DEN, 4th ITA, 5th SWE
E3: 1st ROM, 2nd NZL, 3rd MEX, 4th NOR, 5th FRA,
R1: 1st BEL, 2nd SWE, 3rd NED, 4th AUS
R2: 1st CAN, 2nd MEX, 3rd NOR, 4th FRG
R3: 1st DEN, 2nd NZL, 3rd AUT, 4th FRA
SF1: 1st ROM, 2nd USA, 3rd CAN, 4th NZL, 5th NOR, 6th SWE
SF2: 1st DEN, 2nd BEL, 3rd GBR, 4th AUT, 5th MEX, 6th NED
Final B: 7th NZL, 8th NED, 9th BEL, 10th SWE, 11th MEX, 12th NOR
Final: 1st ROM Valerie Racila (ROM) 3:40.68, 2nd Charlotte Geer (USA)3:43.89, 3rd Ann Hassebrouck (BEL) 3:45.72, 4th CAN. 5th DEN, 6th GBR

Jacqui Marshall, who was the sweep reserve for the four, was eliminated in the repechage.

Women's Double Scull

E1: 1st ROM, 2nd CAN, 3rd NED, 4th GBR
E2: 1st NOR, 2nd SWE, 3rd USA, 4th AUT
R: 1st NED, 2nd SWE, 3rd CAN, 4th USA, 5th AUT, 6th GBR
Final B: 7th AUT, 8th GBR
Final: 1st ROM (M Popescu, E Oleniuc) 3:26.75, 2nd NED 3:29.13, 3rd CAN (Daniale Laumann, Silken Laumann) 3:29.82, 4th SWE, 5th NOR, 6th USA

Women's Coxed Quad Scull

E1: 1st ROM, 2nd FRA, 3rd CAN, 4th FRG
E2: USA, 2nd DEN, 3rd ITA
R: 1st DEN, 2nd FRG, 3rd FRA, 4th ITA, 5th CAN
Final: 1st ROM 3:14.11, 2nd USA 3:15.57, 3rd DEN 3:16.02, 4th FRG, 5th FRA, 6th ITA

Women's Coxless Pair

First & Final: 1st ROM (Rodica Arba, Elena Horvat) 3:32.60, 2nd CAN (Betty Craig, Tricia Smith) 3:36.06, 3rd FRG (Ellen Becker, Iris Volkner) 3:40.50, 4th NED, 5th USA, 6th GBR

Women's Coxed Four

E1: 1st ROM, 2nd NED, 3rd USA, 4th CHN, 5th KOR
E2: 1st CAN, 2nd AUS, 3rd FRG, 4th GBR
R1: 1st NED, 2nd FRG, 3rd CHN
R2: 1st USA, 2nd AUS, 3rd GBR, 4th KOR
Final B: 7th GBR, 8th CHN, 9th KOR
Final: 1st ROM (Florica Lavric, Maria Fricious, Chira Apostol, Olga Bulanda, Viorica Iola) 3:19.30, 2nd CAN (Marilyn Brain, Angie Schneider, Barbara Armbrust, Jane Tregunno, Lesley Thompson) 3:21.55, 3rd AUS 3:23.29, 4th USA, 5th NED, 6th FRG

The four's result was outstanding in view of the experience of the crew. Upon concluding the race, the crew had to contend with some minutes of anguish whilst awaiting an official result. This was made worse by the comment from an official in a speedboat stating that they had finished fourth. South Korea competed for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics.

Women's Eight

First & Final: 1st USA 2:59.80, 2nd ROM 3:00.87, 3rd NED 3:02.92, 4th CAN, 5th GBR, 6th FRG

The home crew broke the stranglehold of the Romanians in the women's events.

Australian Team

Women's Single Scull – Eliminated in repechage

  • Jacqui Marshall (VIC)

Women's Coxed Four – Bronze

  • Bow: Robyn Grey-Gardiner (SA)
  • 2: Karen Brancourt (NSW)
  • 3:Susan Chapman (VIC)
  • Str: Margot Foster (VIC)
  • Cox: Susan Lee (VIC)
  • Coach: Bill Dankbaar (SA)

Men's Quad Scull – Silver

  • Bow: Paul Reedy (VIC)
  • 2: Gary Gulloch (VIC)
  • 3: Tim McLaren (NSW)
  • Str: Tony Lovrich (WA)
  • Cch: Rusty Robertson MBE (NSW)
  • Reserve: Allan Pollock

Men's Coxless Pair – Eliminated in repechage

  • Bow: Robert Booth (SA)
  • Str: Jim Stride (NSW)

Men's Coxless Four – Eighth

  • Bow: David Doyle (VIC)
  • 2: James Lowe (VIC)
  • 3: Duncan Fisher (QLD)
  • Str: John Bentley (SA)
  • Cch: Peter Shakespeare (ACT)

Men's Eight – Bronze

  • Bow: Craig Muller (NSW)
  • 2: Clyde Hefer (NSW)
  • 3: Sam Patten (VIC)
  • 4: Tim Willoughby (SA)
  • 5: Ian Edmunds (QLD)
  • 6: Jim Battersby (NSW)
    7: Ion Popa (VIC)
  • Str: Stephen Evans (NSW)
  • Cox: Gavin Threadgold (SA)
  • Cch: Reinhold Batschi (AIS)

Head Coach: Reinhold Batschi OAM (ACT)
Manager: Don G Croot (NSW)
Doctor: Dr Bill Webb (NSW)
Selectors: William Hay (SA), Don Croot (NSW), Simon Gillett (VIC), Reinhold Batschi (ACT)
Umpire on the Jury: Reg McKay (VIC)


Men's Single Scull

E1: 1st FIN, 2nd FRG, 3rd USA, 4th ESP, 5th FRA, 6th PUR
E2: 1st CAN, 2nd NZL, 3rd GRE, 4th JPN, 5th GUA
E3: 1st ARG, 2nd SWE, 3rd AUT, 4th NOR, 5th NED
R1: 1st USA, 2nd NZL, 3rd PUR. 4th NOR, 5th GUA
R2: 1st FRG, 2nd AUT, 3rd FRA, 4th JPN
R3: 1st GRE, 2nd SWE, 3rd ESP, 4th NED
SF1: 1st FIN, 2nd CAN, 3rd GRE, 4th ESP, 5th NZL, 6th AUT
SF2: 1st FRG, 2nd ARG, 3rd USA, 4th SWE, 5th PUR, 6th FRA
Final B: 7th NZL, 8th AUT, 9th SWE, 10th PUR, 11th ESP, 12th FRA
Final: 1st Pertti Karpinnen (FIN) 7:00.24, 2nd Peter-Michael Kolbe (FRG) 7:02.19, 3rd Robert Mills (CAN) 7:10.38, 4th USA, 5th ARG, 6th GRE

This was the third successive Olympic single scull title for Pertti Karpinnen, who beat his German opponent Peter-Michael Kolbe in a great race.

Men's Double Scull

E1: 1st FRG, 2nd USA, 3rd NOR, 4th AUT, 5th SUI, 6th MEX
E2: 1st BEL, 2nd ITA, 3rd FIN, 4th CAN, 5th YUG
R1: 1st USA, 2nd YUG, 3rd MEX, 4th FIN, 5th AUT
R2: 1st CAN, 2nd IOTA, 3rd NOR, 4th SUI
Final B: 7th AUT, 8th FIN, 9th MEX, 10th NOR, 11th SUI
Final: 1st USA (Bradley Lewis, Paul Enquist) 6:36.87, 2nd BEL (Pierre-Marie Oeloof, Dirk Crois) 6:38.19, 3rd YUG (Zoran Paricic, Mirolav Stanulov) 6:39.59, 4th FRG, 5th ITA, 6th CAN

Men's Quad Scull

E1: 1st AUS, 2nd ESP, 3rd NED, 4th USA, 5th ARG
E2: 1st FRG, 2nd ITA, 3rd CAN., 4th FRA, 5th NOR
R1: 1st CAN, 2nd ESP, 3rd NOR, 4th USA
R2: 1st FRA, 2nd ITA, 3rd NED, 4th ARG
Final B: 7th USA, 8th NOR, 9th NED, 10th ARG
Final: 1st FRG (Albert Hedderich, Raimund Hormann, Dieter Wiedermann, Michael Durch) 5:57.55, 2nd AUS 5:57.98, 3rd CAN (Doug Hamilton, Mike Hughes, Phil Monckton, Bruce Ford) 5:59.01, 4th ITA, 5th FRA, 6th ESP

The Australians won their heat by a length, one second slower than the other heat time. In the final the crew raced superbly and led all crews for the most of the race. However the experienced West Germans, the current World Champions, slipped under their guard in an outside lane to win by 0.43 seconds.

Men's Coxless Pair

E1: 1st FRG, 2nd ESP, 3rd NED, 4th CAN, 5th AUS
E2: 1st NOR, 2nd ROM, 3rd USA, 4th ARG, 5th SUI
E3: 1st ITA, 2nd NZL, 3rd GBR, 4th BRA
R: 1st SUI, 2nd ARG, 3rd BRA, 4th CAN, 5th AUS
SF1: 1st NOR, 2nd FRG, 3rd USA, 4th NZL, 5th NED, 6th BRA
SF2: 1st ROM, 2nd ESP, 3rd ITA, 4th SUI, 5th ARG, 6th GBR
Final B: 7th NED, 8th BRA, 9th NZL, 10th ARG, 11th SUI, 12th GBR
Final: 1st ROM 6:45.39, 2nd ESP 6:48.47, 3rd NOR 6:52.81, 4th FRG, 5th ITA, 6th USA

The winning Romanian crew was the first one of male Romanian Olympic Champions. The Australians were reserves for the eight and outclassed in this event.

Men's Coxed Pair

E1: 1st ROM, 2nd USA, 3rd FRG, 4th YUG, 5th FRA, 6th PER
E2: 1st ITA, 2nd BRA, 3rd GBR, 4th CAN, 5th ESP, 6th BEL
R1: 1st USA, 2nd CAN, 3rd FRA, 4th GBR, 5th PER
R2: 1st BRA, 2nd FRG, 3rd YUG, 4th ESP, 5th BEL
Final B: 7th YUG, 8th GBR, 9th FRA, 10th BEL, 11th PER
Final: 1st ITA (Camine Abbegnale, Giuseppe Abbegnale, Giuseppe di Capua) 7:05.99, 2nd Romania (Dimitris Popescu, Vasile Tomolaga, Dumitru Raducanu) 7:11.21, 3rd USA (Kevin Still, Robert Espeseth, Douglas Herland) 7:12.81, 4th BRA, 5th CAN, 6th SWE

The Abbagnale brothers did not do things by half winning by 5 seconds. This was the first of many Olympic medals for them.

Men's Coxless Four

E1: 1st NZL, 2nd FRG, 3rd DEN, 4th CAN, 5th CHN
E2: 1st USA, 2nd SWE, 3rd SUI, 4th AUS, 5th GBR
R1: 1st SUI, 2nd FRG, 3rd AUS, 4th CHN
R2: 1st SWE, 2nd DEN, 3rd CAN, 4th GBR
Final B: 7th CAN, 8th AUS, 9th GBR, 10th CHN
Final: 1st NZL (Leslie O'Connell, Shane O'Brien, Conrad Robertson, Keith Trask) 6:03.48, 2nd USA (David Clark, Jonathan Smith, Philip Stekl, Alan Forney) 6:06.10, 3rd DEN (Michael Jessen, Lars Nielsen, Per Rasmussen, Erik Christiansen) 6:07.72, 4th FRG, 5th SUI, 6th SWE.

The New Zealand crew contained some of the great 1972 champions in the eight. The Australians were disappointing because they had shown good form in the lead up competitions.

Men's Coxed Four

E1: 1st ITA, 2nd FRG, 3rd CAN, 4th BRA
E2: 1st GBR, 2nd USA, 3rd NZL, 4th JPN
R: 1st NZL, 2nd USA, 3rd FRG, 4th CAN, 5th BRA, 6th JPN
Final B: 7th BRA. 8th JPN
Final: 1st GBR (Martin Cross, Richard Budgett, Andrew Holmes, Steve Redgrave, Adrian Ellison) 6:18.64, 2nd USA (Thomas Kiefer, Gregory Springer, Michael Bach, Edward Ives, John Stillings) 6:20.29, 3rd NZL (Kevin Lawton, Donald Symon, Ross Tong, Barrie Mabbott, Brett Hollister) 6:23.68, 4th ITA, 5th CAN, 6th FRG

This was the first of five successive Olympic Championships for Sir Steve Redgrave who was knighted in 2001.

Men's Eight

E1: 1st NZL, 2nd CAN, 3rd GBR, 4th FRA
E2: 1st USA, 2nd AUS, 3rd CHI
R: 1st AUS, 2nd CAN, 3rd GBR, 4th CHI, 5th FRA
Final: 1st CAN (Pat Turner, Kevin Neufield, Mark Evans, Grant Malin, Paul Steele, Mike Evans, Dean Crawford, Blair Horn, Brian McMahon) 5:41.32, 2nd USA (Walter Lubsen, Andrew Sudduth, John Terwilliger, Christopher Penny, Thomas Darling, Earl Borchell, Charles Clapp III, Bruce Ibbetson, Robert Jaugstetter) 5:41 74, 3rd AUS 5:43.40, 4th NZL, 5th GBR, 6th FRA, 7th CHI

Because of equipment failure, France was permitted to race in an outside lane. The winning Canadian crew had to be content with a second place in both the heat and the repechage. The final was a great race between Canadians and the Americans with very little separating them.

In the final, the Australians would have liked to have held out USA earlier in the race to grab silver and have a crack at Canada. The Australians had good boat speed and whilst happy with the result, believed that they could change the result in another race. The Australians were also pleased to keep the Kiwis behind them as they were formidable competitors. The Canadians had come from nowhere over a reasonably short period of time to be Olympic Champions.

1984 Australian women's coxed four

Women's Four in South Australia promoting their sponsors

1984 Australian Women's coxed four

Women's Four Training

1984 Australian Women's coxed four

Presentation of bronze medal to women's four

Robyn Grey-Gardiner (SA), Karen Brancourt (NSW), Susan Chapman (VIC), Margot Foster (VIC),Susan Lee (VIC)

1984 Australian Women's coxed four celebrating

Women's Four Celebrating

Sue Chapman, Margot Foster, Susan Lee, Karen Brancourt, Robyn Gret-Gardiner

1984 Australian Women's coxed four celebrating

Margot Foster, Robyn Grey-Gardiner and Karen Brancourt celebrating

Jacqui Marshall

Jacqui Marshall in the single scull

australian men's four

Men's Four

David Doyle, James Lowe, Duncan Fisher, John Bentley

men's pair

Men's Pair

Robert Booth (SA) and Jim Stride (NSW)

Men's Quad Scull

Men's Quad Scull

Paul Reedy, Tim McLaren, Gary Gullock, Tony Lovrich

Men's Quad Scull racing

Men's Quad racing

Men's Quad Scull Medal Presentation

Men's Quad Presentation

Gary Gullock

Gary Gullock

men's eight final

Men's Eight Final

men's eight medal presentation

Men's Eight presentation of medals

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