In retracing the roots of Olympic Sailing Competition, we reach back to when Nynäshamn, Sweden was selected above Gothenburg to host the 1912 Olympic Sailing Competition due to its proximity to Stockholm and its vantage points that allowed racing to be viewed from the land.
Sailing was beginning to develop as an Olympic sport. In 1908 13 boats from five nations competed whilst four years later 24 yachts entered from six nations. Denmark, Finland and Russia were welcomed into Olympic sailing for the first time taking the total tally of nations over the three Olympics featuring sailing up to ten.
Racing took place from 20-22 July 1912 with the prize giving on 27 July; however the games themselves commenced on 5 May 1912.
The 1912 Olympic Sailing Competition rationalised the number of classes to just four following just two entrants in the 12-metre at London 1908 and no 15-metre entrants. The 10-metre made its first appearance at an Olympic Sailing Competition but the smaller boats proved most popular, as seen from the entrants chart (1912 Olympic Report) below.
The three new nations marked their entrance into Olympic sailing with success. Finland picked up silver in the 10-metre class and bronze in the 8- and 12-metre class. And Denmark won silver in the 6-metre class whilst Russia won bronze in the 10-metre class.
For full results from the 1912 Olympic Sailing Competition head to the history section on the ISAF London 2012 Olympic Sailing website
Great Britain and France had been the only ever presents before 1912 with both nations well represented at Paris 1900 and London 1908. However there were no British entries in 1912 whilst the French had two in the 6-metre class.
Phoebe did not start whilst Mac Miche (pictured right), skippered by Gaston Thube went on to win gold sealing France's third Olympic sailing gold and 15th medal in total.
A Change In Scoring For The Better? At the 1908 Olympic Sailing Competition three points were awarded for a race win, two for second and one for third. This system was changed for 1912 with the points awarded to the three first boats in each class being seven for a win, three for second place and one for third.
The 1912 Olympic Report stated that, 'This method of calculation possessed the additional advantage of reducing the number of ties that had to be re-sailed.' However, this system resulted in three re-runs to determine the silver and bronze medals in the 8- and 10-metre class and all the medals were decided in the re-run in the 6-metre class.
The 1916 Olympic Games were originally scheduled to take place in Berlin, Germany with the sailing held at Kiel. However the games were cancelled due to World War I. Antwerp, Belgium was selected to host the 1920 Olympiad in April 1919. Post War Belgium managed to demonstrate the Olympic spirit by gathering enough resources in a limited amount of time to host the games.
London 2012 Olympic Sailing Website