Summer Olympic Games 1996 – 2012
Eight of the top ten in this list are in the Top 16 of countries with the longest coastlines in the world. One exception is Spain, as it boasts the 26th longest coastline, but the one that proves the rule is landlocked Austria. Two of its four medallists were born in towns with names ending “am See”, being located on the shores of two of Austria’s many lakes.
The British love affair with the sport began in the seventeenth century, when the future King Charles II was in exile in the Netherlands. It was the height of the Dutch East India Company and sailboat racing was a popular activity. Charles took it with him to London.
Sailing is one of the top sports for the Brazilian hosts, for whom Torben Grael won five Olympic medals. His daughter, Martine, has her own medal chance in the 49er FX class in Rio. Robert Scheidt, who has five as well, will aim for a record sixth in the Laser class.
Next: Shooting minus the war – is there a link between medal success and gun culture?