by Anne Hinton
New Zealand finished equal sixth in the national medal tally for Olympic sailing. The Gold medal of Tom Ashley (RS:X) was enough to match the gold of Danish sailors, Jonas Warrer and Martin Ibsen in the 49er class.
Britain topped the sailing medal table, as she has done at each Olympics in the 21st Century. However, the Brits exceeded their medal tally from each of the last two Games, winning 6 sailing medals in Qingdao (4 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze).
Across the Ditch, the Aussies finished second in the sailing medals table, with 2 Golds (470 Men and Women) and a Silver (Tornado). Spain and the USA finished equal third with one Gold and one Silver medal apiece.
Hosts, the People's Republic of China, made a great leap in sailing to finish fifth sailing nation, thanks to their first ever Gold medal from Yin Jian in the Women's RS:X and a Bronze won by Xu Lijia in the Laser Radial.
Lithuania made it onto the Olympic sailing medals table for the first time, in joint eleventh place, thanks to the silver medal won by Gintare Volungeviciute in the Laser Radial.
A total of 18 countries won medals in sailing on Fushan Bay off Qingdao at the 2008 Olympic Games. Britain won twice as many medals as second place Australia. Nearly half of the countries winning sailing medals were European nations.
Sailing Olympic Medal Table 2008 (number of gold - silver - bronze; total medals):
1. Great Britain 4-1-1; 6 medals
2. Australia 2-1-0; 3 medals
3= Spain 1-1-0; 2 medals
3= USA 1-1-0; 2 medals
5. PR China 1-0-1; 2 medals
6= Denmark 1-0-0; 1 medal
6= NEW ZEALAND 1-0-0; 1 medal
8. Netherlands 0-2-0; 2 medals
9. France 0-1-2; 3 medals
10= Brazil 0-1-1; 2 medals
10= Italy 0-1-1; 2 medals
12= Lithuania 0-1-0; 1 medal
12= Slovenia 0-1-0; 1 medal
14= Argentina 0-0-1; 1 medal
14= Germany 0-0-1; 1 medal
14= Greece 0-0-1; 1 medal
14= Israel 0-0-1; 1 medal
14= Sweden 0-0-1; 1 medal
Data source: ISAF Olympic website results
Over its history of competition in the sailing at the Olympic Games, New Zealand has won a total of 15 medals; 7 Gold, 4 Silver and 4 Bronze. By this reckoning, New Zealand is the ninth most successful sailing nation of all time at the Olympic Games, just behind Australia, which has won 3 more Bronze medals.
Great Britain again tops the table in terms of most successful sailing nation of all time, with 25 Gold, 14 Silver and 11 Bronze medals. The USA has actually won more sailing medals than Britain (59 cf. 50), but lies second in the table by virtue of its 19 Gold medals to 23 Silver and 17 Bronze. Norway is third with 17 Gold, 11 Silver and 3 Bronze medals.
All-time Olympic Sailing Medals by Nation (Gold - Silver - Bronze; medal total), top 10 Nations shown:
1. Great Britain 25-14-11; 50 medals
2. USA 19-23-17; 59 medals
3. Norway 17-11-3; 31 medals
4. Denmark 12-8-6; 26 medals
5. France 11-9-11; 31 medals
6. Spain 11-5-1; 17 medals
7. Sweden 9-12-12; 33 medals
8. Australia 7-4-8; 19 medals
9. NEW ZEALAND 7-4-5; 16 medals
10. Brazil 6-3-7; 16 medals
Data source: ISAF Olympic website
Note: The analysis above assumes that the current results for the 49er class stand. The 2008 Olympic medal results for the 49er are subject to a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing.