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13 June 2012, 02:01 pm
Retracing Roots - Barcelona 1992 Olympic Sailing Competition
Barcelona 1992 Logo
Barcelona 1992 Olympic Logo

Barcelona 1992 Olympic Sailing Competition
Barcelona, Spain

The 443 competitors from the 71 teams present at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Sailing Competition enjoyed unprecedented facilities as the sailing itself took place at the main Games site.
A rundown quarter of the Catalan city was revitalised with the main Olympic Village just across the road from the vast new marina, allowing sailors to stay alongside the rest of the athletes and walk from the accommodation to the venue.

Furthermore the organisers worked hard to increase spectator involvement with races brought closer to the shore allowing the public to view from platforms and the breakwater. All of this took place in the shadow of Frank Gehry's stainless steel fish sculpture atop the Hotel Arts next door to the marina.

Barcelona itself was a Spanish fiesta and sailing wise they hit the nail on the head claiming four gold medals and a silver. The Spaniards did have the benefits of using the venue well in advance of the games but with big cash bonuses on offer to medal winners as well the team delivered the goods.

The Soling started the competition with fleet racing before moving into match-racing for the medal stages. An unintended consequence of this was that Kiwi Russell Coutts, who had risen by then to the top of the world match race rankings, became the most-tacked-upon sailor in Barcelona as his rivals succeeded in preventing Coutts making the cut.

Full results from Barcelona 1992 available here.

Olympic Oath

The Spanish sailor Luis Doreste, gold medal winner at the Los Angeles Games, was chosen to pronounce the Olympic oath. He took the flag in his left hand and with bared head raised his right hand and spoke the words laid down in the Olympic Charter, "In the name of all the competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams."

As if sailing on home waters wasn't enough inspiration Doreste went on to take Flying Dutchman gold alongside Domingo Manrique.

Tornado Medallists Take A Splash

Yves Loday and Nicolas Henard (FRA) took the Tornado honours followed by America's Randy Smyth and Keith Notary (USA) and Mitch Booth and John Forbes (AUS). After the final race the trio went to collect their medals as Loday recounts, "We were all on the podium and Randy pushed somebody and somebody pushed the other and we all fell in the water.

"At that time in Barcelona the podium in the middle of the marina and suddenly all the Tornado teams were all in the water.

"After that we had to go back and shake the hand of the Queen and the King and we were completely wet. The Queen had big smiles, but not the King."

View an interview with Loday on ISAF TV as he remembers his final race in Barcelona 1992 and the medal ceremony.

American Dominance

With ten events on the cards, American sailors went on to medal in nine missing out on a medal in the Women's Lechner.

Mark Reynolds and Harold Haenel took America's only sailing gold in the Star class whilst they collected six silver medals at two bronze.

The American team had hit perfection during previous Olympic Games when they won medals in all of the events at Los Angeles 1984. A feat that had not been seen since Sweden picked up medals in all of the Stockholm 1912 events.

The Future

Savannah hosted the 1996 Olympic Sailing Competition, 240 miles away from the host venue of Atlanta and a total of 22 nations took a share of the 30 medals that were on offer.

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