Brazil’s sailing team aims for gold at Olympics


Brazil's sailing team aims for gold at Olympics

Brazil has proud records in Olympic sailing. It’s one of Brazil’s most successful Olympic sports.

CCTV America’s Lucrecia Franco takes a look at the dreams and challenges facing the country’s sailing team.

Brazil’s coastline of more than 7,400 kilometers (around 4,600 miles)- the longest in South America- has made Brazil a sailing nation. No wonder Brazilians excel at it, with 17 Olympic sailing medals.

At age 43, laser class sailor Robert Scheidt is one of only three athletes in the world with five Olympic medals in sailing- two gold, two silver and one bronze. And he still wants more.

“I think I’m more motivated than ever to try to achieve a medal here, especially because I will compete in my home waters,” Scheidt said.

This time, sailing will take place at the heart of Rio in the iconic Guanabara Bay. It is a challenging venue because of the combination of changing currents, winds and waves, but Brazil’s sailors are saying they’re fitter than ever.

The stronger the tradition, the greater the pressure, especially for the athletes that will be competing in their motherland for the first time. Regardless, Brazil will probably have a big chance at winning medals as it has a guaranteed place in all sailing events.

Untreated sewage and debris in Guanabara Bay, however, is an unresolved concern. Brazil is collecting garbage and building barriers to prevent more waste from entering the bay.

Isabel Swan is the first Brazilian female to win a medal in Beijing 2008. This time, she’s sailing the newly-added Nacra 17 Catamaran. Swan said she expects the bay to be cleaner by the time the games start, and she needs it to be.

There are also efforts to ensure the race courses won’t be obstructed, in order to help Brazil’s queens and kings of the waves focus on what they do the best-winning medals in their home waters.