- The games
- Organising Committee
- Rio de Janeiro
- Take part
2012-02-29Updated on February, 29th, 2012, 15:52
Brazilians know how to enjoy nature’s gift to Brazil – a coast of over 7,400 Km – like no other. The alluring nature of the country that is hosting the Rio 2016™ Games is the dream setting for an array of activities, but one in particular has earned world recognition and gold dividends to Brazil: Sailing.
The boat and board sport shares with Volleyball the position of the sport which has most awarded Brazilian athletes in the history of the Olympic Games. Up to the present, 16 medals have been awarded: six gold, three silver and seven bronze. Volleyball, however, has won one gold less. Judo is next with 15 medals, Athletics, with 14, and Swimming, with 11. None of them has generated more champions for Brazil than Sailing.
Brazil’s greatest Olympic athlete is a sailor. Torben Grael has competed at five Games editions, from Los Angeles 1984 to Athens 2004, having earned two gold medals and two bronze ones at the Star sailing class and a silver medal at the Soling class. The legend of the Olympic lanes can be outpaced by another sailor at London 2012. Robert Scheidt has earned two gold and two silver medals. This year, if he makes it to the top of the podium competing at the same Star class that took Torben to the summit, he will outpace his country fellow. Brazil also boasts another Olympic Sailing champion: Marcelo Ferreira, Torben’s crew at the Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004 victories.
“Our chances at London 2012 are medals at three or four classes, one of which is Star. It is a sport that relies a lot on experience and being older can be a positive factor. Training sailors is not an easy task, four or five are not enough”, said Marcelo, member of the Rio 2016™ Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games,.
Check out the decisive moments of the Star sailing class at Beijing 2008!
The stronger the tradition, the greater the expectations for the sport at the Games at home. At Rio 2016™, Sailing will take place at the iconic Guanabara Bay. The favourable Marina da Gloria location will enable the competitions to be held within the host city’s urban perimetre, a rare case in the history of the Olympics.
“Brazilian Sailing has a tradition also in the staging of big events. We have hosted, for example, world Star and Finn sailing championships. Rio has a beautiful Marina. There is a lot of work to be done until 2016 but Sailing will be a watershed. May it be favourable to the country and to Sailing”, Marcelo added.
To the Olympic bi-champion, Rio de Janeiro will be on the Sailing world’s spotlight as soon as the last London 2012 race ends. For Brazilians, the starting signal to the thrill has been fired.
“The Olympic cycles don’t stop. In the past, the Games stopped for a year or a year and a half after one edition of the Games and then the next Games preparation would begin. Today, attention is drawn to the next cycle the day after the last regatta. Regarding athletes, Brazilians will certainly be facing greater pressure. It is either winning or winning. If things turn out as expected, no doubt it will be a great encouragement to sport”, he concluded.
At Beijing 2008, Brazilian female athletes earned the first Sailing medal. Check it out!