|Competitions held||195 (Venues)|
As a competitive sport, sailing was called yachting until the 21st century. The international federation, now World Sailing, changed the sport’s competitive name in an attempt to limit the elitist connotation associated with the term “yachting”. The sport has been termed yachting at the Olympics through 1996, and sailing, in effect, made its Olympic début at Sydney 2000.
Yachting actually began as a form of sailing, which has been practiced since antiquity as a means of transport. In the modern sense, yachting probably originated in the Netherlands, and the word seems to come from the Dutch “jacht” (for hunting), which was originally used for fast, light ships.
Sailing as a sport was brought to England by King Charles II about 1660, after his exile to Holland. International yacht racing began in 1851, when a syndicate of members of the New York Yacht Club built a 101-foot schooner named America. The yacht was sailed to England, where it won a trophy called the Hundred Guineas Cup, in a race around the Isle of Wight under the auspices of the Royal Yacht Squadron. The trophy was renamed The America’s Cup after the yacht, not after the United States, as is commonly thought.
As aforementioned, sailing has been governed worldwide by World Sailing (WS), formerly the International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU), and even before as the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), which was formed on 14 October 1907, in Paris. As of 2022, WS has 148 member nations.
Sailing was first contested at the 1900 Olympic Games. It made its next Olympic appearance in 1908 and has been on every Olympic Program since that year. Sailing has had a very varied program that is usually changed every few Olympiads as the popularity of various boats waxes and wanes. Women have always been allowed to compete in Olympic sailing with men, and the first woman to compete in the Olympics was a sailor, in 1900. In 1988, separate sailing events exclusively for women were introduced. In 1984, the popular sport of boardsailing was also added to the Olympic Program, and a separate boardsailing event for women was placed on the program for the first time in 1992.
The current sailing program has events for both men, women, and open crews. The classes fit into certain categories, including a windsurfing class, one-person dinghies, two-person dinghies, heavyweight dinghies, skiffs, and multihull boats. However, the exact type of boat within these categories may now vary from Olympics to Olympics.
Sailing is contested at the Olympics in a series of fleet races, with points awarded for the placement in each race. In 2008, the so-called Medal Race was added to make the sport more suitable for television: these races feature only the top 10 boats, and take only 30 minutes.
The medal table is topped by Great Britain (30 golds, 63 medals), followed by the United States (19 golds, 61 medals) and France (17 golds, 51 medals). British sailor Ben Ainslie and Paul Elvstrøm (DEN) lead the men’s medal table, both with four gold medals. Ainslie has won a total of five medals at the Olympic Games, just as Brazilian sailors Robert Scheidt and Torben Grael. Seven women have won two gold medals, led by British Hannah Mills, who won a silver before her two Olympic titles. Windsurfer Alessandra Sensini, of Italy, is the female sailor with the most medals, with a total of four.
|People's Republic of China||CHN||3||3||2||8|
|Hong Kong, China||HKG||1||0||0||1|
|United States Virgin Islands||ISV||0||1||0||1|
|People's Republic of China||CHN||1||0||0||1|
|United States Virgin Islands||ISV||1||0||0||1|
|Hong Kong, China||HKG||0||1||0||1|
|Valentin Mankin|| URS
|Jochen Schümann|| GDR
|Name||Gender||Still contested?||Times held?|
|One Person Dinghy||Men||8|
|Two Person Dinghy||Men||9|
|Two Person Keelboat||Men||3|
|One Person Heavyweight Dinghy||Men||3|
|One Person Dinghy||Women||8|
|Two Person Dinghy||Women||9|
|Three Person Keelboat||Women||3|
|One Person Dinghy||Boys||2|
|One Person Dinghy||Girls||2|
|One Person Dinghy||Open||19|
|Two Person Dinghy||Open||3|
|Two Person Keelboat||Open||18|
|Three Person Keelboat||Open||15|
|Two Person Heavyweight Dinghy||Open||10|