Rio Games: Canada Needs Some Love

Published on August 1st, 2016

As the Canadian Sailing Team prepares for the Rio Games, and hopes to end their 12-year medal drought, one must wonder if the deck is stacked against them. Canada has won nine Olympic sailing medals, but nearly all the boats they have excelled in are gone from the Games. Conspiracy or coincidence?

Canada first stepped on the podium at Los Angeles 1932 with silver in the 8-metre and bronze in the 6-metre. Both boats were not included in the 1936 Games, and it would be 40 years before the next podium result, a bronze by David Miller, John Ekels, and Paul Cote in the Soling at Munich 1972.

Three medals followed at Los Angeles 1984: silver in the Flying Dutchman by Evert Bastet and Terry McLaughlin to go with bronzes in the Finn by Terry Neilson and in the Soling by Hans Fogh, John Kerr, and Stephen Calder.

McLaughlin’s brother Frank won Flying Dutchman bronze with John Millen at Seoul 1988, with the FD gone after the 1992 Games. The Soling got the flick after the 2000 Games.

Canada’s two most recent sailing medals came in the Star class. Ross MacDonald won bronze at Barcelona 1992 with Eric Jesperson before winning silver with Mike Wolfs at Athens 2004. The 2012 Games was the last for the Star.

Only the Finn remains in the Games, an event in which Lawrence Lemieux became acclaimed for his sportsmanship at Seoul 1988 when he left his race to rescue a pair of Singaporean 470 sailors who had capsized and were in need of assistance.

For Lemieux’s actions, he was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin Medal for Sportsmanship. “By your sportsmanship, self-sacrifice and courage,” said Juan Antonio Samaranch, President of the IOC, “you embody all that is right with the Olympic ideal.”

Lemieux, at the time, was only the fifth recipient of the de Coubertin Medal, and the second to receive it during a Games in which he was a competitor.

Canadian Olympic sailing history… click here.

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