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Sailing at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games

2008 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


Host City: Beijing, China
Date Started: August 9, 2008
Date Finished: August 21, 2008
Events: 11

Participants: 400 (261 men and 139 women) from 62 countries
Youngest Participant: NZL Peter Burling (17 years, 223 days)
Oldest Participant: USA John Dane, III (58 years, 32 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 54 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): GBR Great Britain (6 medals)


There were no major changes to the 2008 Olympic sailing program, which again had classes, with four each for men and women, and two mixed classes. The only difference was that the windsurfing and the one-person dinghy events used slightly different boat classes. Because Beijing is nowhere near the ocean, the 2008 sailing events were held at the Qingdao International Sailing Centre, on Fushan Bay in Qingdao in Shandong Province. These were about 719 km (446 miles) from Beijing.

The scoring system was the pure point-for-place scoring system in each race that had been introduced in 1996, with the worst race score thrown out. If a boat did not finish, was disqualified, or did not start a race, it was awarded points equal to the number of boats entered in the event, or the highest score possible. One change in 2008 was that the final race was termed the medal race, and points were doubled in that race to allow for more dramatic finishes, with only the top 10 boats entering the medal race. Further, the medal race finish could not be thrown out – it had to count towards the crew’s total.

The mixed Skiff event was scheduled for 16 races in 2008, with the others to have 11; however, difficulties with very light winds forced the cancellation and postponement of many races, and the Skiff had only 13 races, the women’s Yngling and the mixed Finn classes finished after only nine races, and men’s Laser and women’s Laser Radial had only 10 races.

Great Britain dominated 2008 sailing, with four gold medals and six medals in all, topping both lists. Australia won two golds and three medals, and France won three medals, with six nations winning two medals.