When it comes to the Summer Olympics, there are a few sports that immediately come to mind. There is swimming, diving, basketball, gymnastics, and many more. One that does not always make it to the top of that list is sailing. Sailing as an Olympic sport has been around since the end of the 19th century. In all of that time, the sport in all of its forms has seen a lot of diverse competitors vying for the gold. In fact, the sport has seen twenty-eight Summer Olympics since its start in 1896. Given all of the different types of sailing that are part of the competition, there are a lot of medals to be won in the sport.
Of all the countries that have taken part in Olympic sailing since its start, there are a few that have consistently remained on top. For gold, silver, and bronze medals, these top sailing countries have nabbed double-digits in each of the medal categories.
Top Five Gold Medallists for Olympic Sailing
- Britain has won twenty-five
- United States has won nineteen
- Norway has won seventeen
- Spain has won thirteen
- France / Denmark are tied at twelve
Top Five Silver Medallists for Olympic Sailing
- The United States has won twenty-three
- Great Britain has won eighteen
- Sweden has won twelve
- Norway has won eleven
- France has won eleven
Top Five Bronze Medallists for Olympic Sailing
- The United States has won seventeen
- France has won fifteen
- Sweden has won thirteen
- Great Britain has won eleven
- Australia has won eight
Apart from the odd country finding its way onto to those lists, the top competitors in the sport seem to be Great Britain, the United States, Sweden, Norway, and France. Although these countries are not always found in the winner’s circle, their average wins in the sport are a testament to their devotion to the sport.
How to Qualify
In order for a sailing team to make it to the Olympic Games, there are several things that need to happen. The first, and most important, is that the racing team has to have a boat that meets the olympic regulations for the specific class that they are trying to race in. There are ten different classes of boat in the olympic races, and each one has a long list of competitors trying to qualify to race in the world’s biggest competitive match.
Each country goes through a weeding out process to find the best that their country has to offer. There are a series of important races that serve as a kind of filter for those teams that do not have what it takes. For each boat class, there are races that start off with a great many yachts, and twenty or thirty of them pass on to the next race. Fewer and fewer teams are selected with each consecutive race, until finally there are only a few contenders in each class.
The next time you turn on the TV to watch your favourite Summer Games event, don’t forget to check out the wonderful world of Olympic Sailing.