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Sailing at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Games

2016 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games


Host City: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date Started: August 8, 2016
Date Finished: August 18, 2016
Events: 10

Participants: 380 (217 men and 163 women) from 66 countries
Youngest Participant: URU Dolores Moreira (17 years, 174 days)
Oldest Participant: ARG Santiago Lange (54 years, 323 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 45 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): NZL New Zealand and AUS Australia (4 medals)


Sailing was contested at Marina da Gloria in Guanabara Bay, off the eastern shore of Rio de Janeiro, thus making it the first sailing venue since Athens in 2004 to be staged at the main Olympic city. Restoring the water quality in the bay was one of the major environmental promises in connection with the bid to host the 2016 Olympics, but due to the country’s financial crisis, this was never achieved. Untreated sewage from the city was discharged into the bay via biologically dead tributaries, and so-called super bacteria were detected, as were antibiotic-resistant agents that entered the bay via hospital sewage. Prior to the Olympics, many athletes complained about the pollution. However, during the Olympic regatta, the conditions appeared to be better, and the only reported case of infection was to the Belgian sailor [Evi Van Acker], who acquired a gastric disease, probably during training on the bay.

Like at most Olympics, some events were changed from to the previous Olympic regatta. While the number of events remained the same (10), the keelboat type classes disappeared completely. There had been one event each for women and men in London. The men’s keelboat, the Star, was the best known class in sailing and was was first contested at the 1932 Games and was on the Olympic program 18 times.

Unchanged were the following events: Windsurfer (men and women: RS:X), One Person Dinghy (men: Laser; women: Laser Radial), Two Person Dinghy (men and women: 470), Skiff (men: 49er), One Person Heavyweight Dinghy (men: Finn). In 2012, the international sailing federation ISAF announced the course racing style of kitesurfing would replace windsurfing as a discipline at the 2016 Rio Olympics. But later that year, members of the general assembly of the ISAF did not approve this decision and windsurfing remained on the program. In addition to the men’s skiff, the 49er, a women’s class, the 49erFX was added. For the first time, a mixed team event, the Nacra17, was introduced, as a replacement for open events, similar to those in Beijing, and this marked the return of the multihull (catamaran) type.

The medals were distributed among 17 nations. Only two, Great Britain and the Netherlands won two golds. Four countries won three or more medals: Great Britain (2/1/0), Australia (1/3/0), New Zealand (1/2/1) and France (1/0/2), while ten teams won just one. One of the losers was Spain, which ranked high on the table with two gold in 2012, but returned from Rio empty-handed. Host Brazil celebrated with the gold medal of its 49erFX team [Martine Grael] and [Kahena Kunze]. A total of 381 competitors (218 men and 163 women) represented 66 countries.