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29 February 2012, 08:53 am
Retracing Roots - Paris 1924 Olympic Sailing Competition
Paris 1924 Olympic Games Poster
Paris 1924 Olympic Games Poster

Olympic Sailing Competition
Paris, France

Olympic Sailing was somewhat downsized in 1924 with just three disciplines on show compared to the 14 at Antwerp 1920. With this in mind, and an emphasis towards one-designs, a record 19 nations made the trip to the French capital to sail.
Paris was no stranger to hosting Olympic Sailing after the 1900 Olympic Games saw sailing prevalent on the Seine. And as like Paris 1900, sailing was split between Meulan and Le Havre.

The 1921 IOC conference in Lausanne urged the adoption of one-designs, but dinghy racing on the upper Seine was unsatisfactory. And with big disparities between the boats, the IOC's aim that "the sporting instrument should count for nothing" in the results was not met.

Still, Belgian Leon Huybrechts finally got a gold medal whilst Norway's August Ringvold won a second successive gold in the 8-metre class. 1924 was not a great regatta. Strong winds, interspersed with calms, saw to that at Le Havre. There the racing was organised in the format of qualifying round, semi-finals and final. On the concluding day Sir Ernest Rooney had to race his 8-metre Emily shorthanded with only two of his four amateur hands.

The others were first thwarted by the cancellation of the steamer service from Trouville, where they were staying, and then by a puncture to the car they had chartered. The two eventually arrived five minutes after Emily crossed the start line but the race committee agreed that they could be put aboard, but Emily lost time in slowing down to let the launch catch her up. Emily took the silver.

Olympic Sailing Welcomes South America And Africa

Since the start of the Olympic Games only teams from Europe and North American had competed at an Olympic Sailing Competition.

A step towards one-design boats saw new nations venture into Olympic Sailing and for the first time South America and Africa were represented in the form of Argentina and South Africa. Neither team medalled as the European, in particular Norwegian; dominance continued with its grip on Olympic sailing.

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Start Of A Family TraditionEugen Lunde

In 1924 Eugen Lunde started an Olympic Sailing family dynasty after he became the first in a four generation strong history of Lunde sailors.

The Norwegian won gold in the 6-metre class in 1924, his daughter in law Vibeke Lunde won silver in the 5.5 metre at Helsinki 1952 and his grandson Peter Lunde, Jr. won Flying Dutchman gold at Rome 1960 and Star silver at Mexico City 1968.

Eugen Lunde's great granddaughter Jeanette Lunde became the second Norwegian woman to compete at both Winter and Summer Olympics and sailed in the Women's 470 with Carolina Toll at Sydney 2000, finishing 16th.

The Future

Amsterdam got its chance as host at last, with the racing taking place on what is now the enclosed Ijsselmeer, but was then the open Zuiderzee, midway between the bad floods of 1916 and the closing off of the North Sea in 1932.

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