Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Wassaw Sound, Savannah, Georgia
Date Started: July 22, 1996
Date Finished: July 29, 1996
Format: Points awarded for placement in each race. Best eight of ten scores to count for final placement. 11 scheduled races, but only 10 were held.
Eleven races were scheduled but wind conditions caused one to be cancelled, so only 10 were sailed. Going into the final race the Brazilian, Swedish, and Australian boats all had a chance to win the gold medal. Australia had led after eight races, but then finished ninth and had a premature start disqualification in the final race to drop back to the bronze medal. Brazil, skippered by Torben Grael, had the lead after nine races. In the final race, Swedish skipper Hans Wallén got the win, but Grael brought his boat across the line in third place to preserve the gold medal. Australian skipper Colin Beashel was sailing in his fourth of six Olympics. He and David Giles stayed together as a crew for four Olympics, 1992-2004, but the 1996 bronze was their only medal.
Medals were easier to come by for Torben Grael. This was his first Olympic gold medal, but he had won a silver in 1984 Soling, and a bronze in Star in 1988. He would compete through the 2004 Olympics, repeating as Star gold medalist that year, after winning a bronze in 2000. His 2004 gold made him the first sailor to win five Olympic medals, although this mark was later equalled by Britain’s Ben Ainslie and his countryman, Robert Scheidt. Grael’s brother, Lars, also won two Olympic bronze medals, including in 1996 in the Tornado class, but they never raced together at the Olympics.