Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Wassaw Sound, Savannah, Georgia
Date Started: July 22, 1996
Date Finished: August 2, 1996
Format: Ten fleet races, best eight of ten scores to count. Top six teams advanced to single-elimination match racing.
Soling was again contested as a series of fleet races, which qualified the boats for head-to-head match races. Ten fleet races qualified six boats for the quarter-finals, with the top two finishers, Germany and the United States, seeded directly into the semi-finals.
In 1988 this class had been won by the East German crew of Jochen Schümann, Thomas Flach, and Bernd Jäkel. Unusually for a three-person crew, they returned eight years later, now as a German crew, and repeated as gold medalists. They won the fleet racing over the United States and then defeated Great Britain, 3-0, in the semi-finals. In the other semi-final, Russia upset the US boat, 3-0, but Russia was no match for Germany in the final, also losing 3-0. The US defeated Great Britain, 3-1, to earn the bronze medal.
This was the third Olympic gold medal for Jochen Schümann, after his 1988 Soling gold, and winning the Finn class in 1976. Among Olympic sailors through 2012, only Soviet Valentyn Mankin has also won three gold medals, although Denmark’s Paul Elvstrøm and Britain’s Ben Ainslie stand atop the list with four each.