Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Top 11 Sailing Athletes


Sailing is among the leading attractions during the Summer Olympics, due to the level of skill and performance required for standing out from the competition. The tradition of sailing as an Olympic sport goes back to the first Olympics ever held in history, and modern times are also marked by fantastic achievements of the athletes dedicated to this sport.

Below, you will find the names of the multi-medalists of this sport that have already made history. It is up to the new generations to try and get ahead of the performance already established by these highly skilled and talented individuals.

Ben Ainslie (Great Britain)

The multi-medaled athlete managed, in his professional career as an athlete, a performance that has yet to be surpassed by new competitors engaged in this sport. Ben Ainslie, or Sir Charles Benedict Ainslie, by his full name and title, is considered to date the most successful athlete in this field. He won a medal at each of the Olympics held between 1996 and 2012.

His strong debut was a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics that was followed by four gold medals during the Olympics that followed. While he has not competed in any other Olympics since 2012, he is still involved in various events related to sailing.


Paul Elvstrøm (Denmark)

This athlete made a mark in the history of sailing, by managing to achieve a performance that is still maintained by only five other people in the world. That performance is winning four gold medals in a row during the Olympics. Another crucial aspect of his career that must be noted is that during the last Olympics he attended, he sailed a Tornado catamaran, while being assisted by his daughter, Trine.

Paul Elvstrøm passed away in 2016, but he left behind a legacy. Besides being an accomplished sailor, he was also interested in creating and innovating sails and other sailing equipment. One of the designs he put his signature under is a type of self-bailer.


Jochen Schümann (Germany)

Our list continues with Jochen Schümann, a sailor who was born in the Eastern part of Berlin and won medals for East Germany in the beginning and for his unified country later on. During the first Summer Olympics, he was a part of, which took place in Montreal in 1976, he won his first gold medal. He competed then for the Finn class.

Later on, he took part in three other events, which were the Summer Olympics for 1988, 1996 and 2000. He changes classes to the soling class and won two gold medals, followed by one silver.


Valentin Mankin (Russia)

The Kiev-born sailor is still known as the only person who has ever managed to win gold medals for three different classes: Finn, Tempest, and Star. He competed for the USSR team, and his first victory came in 1968, during the Olympics that were held in Mexico City. Back then, he won his first gold medal while competing in the Finn class.

His last victory happened during the 1980 Olympics which were held in his home country. While he was 41 years old, he managed to snatch the victory from the hands of other competitive sailors.


Robert Scheidt (Brazil)

The plethora of medals for this athlete is just as impressive as for the other athletes mentioned earlier. During his career, he won a total of 5 Olympic medals, of which two were gold, two were silver and once was bronze. It must also be mentioned that he also won a Star Sailors League Final, another paramount event for sailors. In Brazil, he is celebrated as one of the most accomplished sailing athletes.


Torben Grael (Brazil)

The other Brazilian professional sailor to make this list is Torben Grael. Of Danish origins, he dedicated his life to sailing from a very early age. He was only five when his grandfather decided that he was old enough to be taught the secrets of sailing. Coincidence or not for what was to follow for the very young Torben Grael, the boat he was taken sailing for the first time was used by the Danish team to win the silver medal during the 1912 Olympics.

From a family of sailors, he transmitted the same competitive spirit and passion for sailing to his daughter, Martine Grael, who is also an Olympic athlete.

Magnus Konow (Norway)

Going back down the memory lane, we find another great champion in the person of Magnus Konow, a Norwegian sailor, who took part in the Summer Olympics organized in 1908, 1912, 1920, 1928, 1936 and 1948. The first competition when he won a gold medal was the 1912 Olympics. The next victory of the same caliber came in 1920. After that, it took 16 years to mark another impressive achievement. Back then he was the helmsman of the crew that won the silver medal, with his son part of it, too.


Rodney Pattisson (Great Britain)

Born in Scotland, Rodney Pattison is an accomplished British sailor, whose performance was not unmatched for years, and things changed only when Ben Ainslie, the sailor placed on the top of this list, began taking part in competitions.

His two gold medals were won in 1968, at the Olympics held in Mexico City, and the next one. He also won a silver medal in 1976, in Montreal. His class was the Flying Dutchman.


Mark Reynolds (USA)

The son of another world champion at sailing, Mark Reynolds won great medals for his home country on several occasions. His string of medals includes two gold and one silver. One of the most notable achievements of his life as an athlete was the gold medal won during the 2000 Summer Olympics.


Iain Percy (Great Britain)

Ian Percy’s performance at the Olympics is of more recent date than other names in this list. During the 2000 Olympics, held at Sydney, he got a gold medal, while competing in the Finn class. He has not repeated the same performance at the Olympics, but won other impressive medals at important events, like the World Championship.


Tore Holm (Sweden)

Tore Holm was not only an avid competitor in sailing events but also a yacht designer. He competed in five different Summer Olympics, between 1920 and 1948, and maybe his reputation as a boatbuilder is on par with his athletic performance.



1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)