Crew: Top Strokes

Karl Adam, the 216-lb. braunschweiger-built coach of West Germany's Ratzeburg Rowing Club, isn't boasting when he says, "I have shown I can produce champions year after year."

Since 1953, when he became Ratzeburg coach, Adam's piston-smooth crew has won eight German championships, three European titles, one world title (1962), an Olympic gold medal and an Olympic silver medal. Drawing on his experience as a physics teacher, he designed a tulip-shaped oar that gets a better bite on the water, conceived the idea of rigging the No. 4 and 5 oars on the starboard side of the shell to reduce veering. He...

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