08 Aug 2008
24 Aug 2008
Country of the host city
Istanbul (TUR), Osaka (JPN), Paris (FRA) and Toronto (CAN)
In many ways Beijing 2008 was a landmark Games for sailing. It was the first time the Medal Race format, featuring the top ten competitors competing in a final double-points race, was used at the Olympic Games. China won its first ever gold medal in sailing, whilst Alessandra Sensini of Italy became the first female sailor to win four Olympic medals. British sailor Ben Ainslie won his third consecutive Olympic gold medal, a feat International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge called 'equally fantastic' to the recording-breaking performances of American swimmer Michael Phelps and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.
The 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition was held at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre in the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao, located on the Yellow Sea, some 800 kilometres from Beijing.
The expected light winds conditions prevailed throughout the early part of the competition, which combined with the high heat and humidity made for some extremely challenging racing. Over the second week of racing, conditions were much more varied, including severe storms for several of the Medal Races. In total 18 nations won medals, including the first ever sailing medal for Lithuania. With four gold, one silver and one bronze medal, Great Britain topped the sailing Medal Tally for the third consecutive Games.
Other gold medals went to Australia, who repeated their feat of 2000 by winning both two-person dinghy events, Spain, the USA, China, Denmark and New Zealand.