5 facts that prove sailing is the best sport at the Olympics


What's your favourite sport at the Olympics? After reading this, it will definitely be sailing.

As Rio draws ever closer, we're taking a look at each of the Olympic sports in turn. This week, we take to the open water.

1. Our tireless research can reveal that 11 landlocked nations have taken part in Olympic sailing events.


Three of those have won medals, with the most successful being Austria. Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher won two of their three golds in the tornado class in 2000 and 2004, becoming their most successful summer Olympians.

Hagara said: "We may not have the best training facilities, but it's not difficult to reach the top sailing spots."

2. Sailing made an inauspicious start to the Olympic programme, when its entire programme at the 1896 Athens Games was cancelled.

Ben Ainslie sails in Athens Olympics 2004 (David Davies/PA)
Sailing was a more successful event in Athens in 2004 (David Davies/PA)

Depending upon whom you wish to believe it was either axed due to persistent bad weather, the unavailability of enough boats, or the organisers' failure to build enough disembarkation points for the competing fleet, which strikes one as something of an oversight.

3. Why use a sail when you can have an engine?

A powerboat in competition (Chris Ison/PA)
The International Union of Powerboating are pushing for powerboating to be made of the games (Chris Ison/PA)

The brief and ignominious appearance of water motorsports on the Olympic programme has been previously documented. Now the International Union of Powerboating is making a push for inclusion, starting with a place on the programme for a forthcoming Youth Olympics.

President Raffaele Chiulli said: "The Youth Olympics are not just about sport - they are also about culture and other events."

4. Windsurfing was almost inadvertently axed from the Rio 2016 programme.

A group of windsurfers competing in a race  (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Translation issues could have seen windsurfing removed in favour of kiteboarding (Andrew Milligan/PA)

It was voted out in favour of kiteboarding in 2012, in what GB Olympic medallist Nick Dempsey described as a "bizarre" decision.

The International Sailing Federation later reversed the move, claiming the vote in question had "confused" delegates because of "ambiguous language translations."

5. The Duchess of Westminster won a bronze medal as part of the GB sailing team in 1908.

Medalists on the podium of the 1960 Olympics, Argentine team who took the silver medal, Greece who took the gold medal and Italy who won the bronze (AP)
Crown Prince Constantine of Greece, stands at the front of the Greek team to receive his gold medal at the 1960 Olympics

Constance Edwina Cornwallis-West - known in her down-time as Shelagh - was an extra crew member on the eight-metre yacht Sorais.

Meanwhile, the future king of Greece, Constantine II, won a gold medal in the Dragon class at the 1960 Games in Rome.