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23 May 2012, 11:27 am
Retracing Roots - Moscow 1980 Olympic Sailing Competition
1980 Olympic Games Poster
1980 Olympic Games Poster

Moscow 1980 Olympic Sailing Competition
Moscow, Russia

The Moscow 1980 Olympic Sailing Competition was held in Tallinn and was the smallest Olympic Sailing event since 1956 due to the American boycott of the Games which led to several other non-attendees.
Nation numbers were down, and so with it came just 83 boats contesting in the six classes. Nonetheless the show went on with the Star returning in place of the tempest

In his last Olympics and in his home nation Valentin Mankin secured his third Olympic gold and his fourth medal overall.

Given the circumstances, the USSR might have been expected to win more, but Boris Budinov took silver in the Soling (behind a second successive gold for Dane Poul Richard Hoj-Jensen) and Andrei Balashov. A silver in the FD for David Wilkins gave Ireland its first and only sailing medal.

Full results available here.

The Venue

As Moscow was unable to host the sailing competition an Olympic Yachting Centre was built in Tallinn the capital of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, over 1000km away from Moscow.

The building itself was a prime example of Soviet architecture highlighting the history, culture, ethnicity and diversity of its people. Still in use today the centre is fit to host 750 vessels with the Estonian Yachting Union based around the venue.

Spain Strike Gold For First Time

The first Spanish sailors competed at the 1924 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium, but they had a long wait for an Olympic sailing gold medal. But it finally came, as Alejandro Abascal and Miguel Noguer stormed to the gold medal after three out of seven race wins.

Looking back, Abascal said, "For Miguel and I the Olympics was the pinnacle and our dream so we were very happy with our results and the gold medal. Gaining that gold medal was the beginning so perhaps we showed the way for the others.

"We were very consistent throughout the competition and after winning three races we didn't need to sail in the final race."

View an interview with Alejandro Abascal on ISAF TV here as he reflects on the 1980 Olympics and looks forward to the Spanish quest for medals at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.

The Future

Despite a Soviet boycott of the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games the biggest Olympic sailing competition was held with 62 nations competing. Sailing gained a seventh medal and windsurfing was introduced.

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