Brazil has top Olympic sailors? Who knew?
Robert Scheidt is poised to win another sailing medal for his soccer-crazy country.
São Paolo, Brazil
There’s a wall at the Santo Amaro Yacht Club with plaques to the club’s sailing greats.
Up high are tributes to the men who in the 1960s and 70s won gold medals in the Pan American Games or bronze medals in the Olympics.
Down below, in the space for more recent conquests, the name Robert Scheidt stands out.
His name is on more plaques than all the others put together. For International Sailor of the Year (twice), for Pan American gold (three times) for World Championships (eight times at Laser class, and once at Star class). And of course for his two Olympic gold medals.
By any measure, Mr. Scheidt is one of Brazil’s, and sailing’s, greats.
“Anyone who has gone to three Olympics and won two golds and a silver, been the world champion eight times in Laser, gone to four World Championships with Star and won one and came second in another is outstanding,” says Lars Grael, a friend and former rival of Scheidt who himself won Olympic sailing medals in 1984 and 1988. “Like everyone else who understands sailing, I will tell you that Robert Scheidt is one of a kind.”
Brazil is world famous as the country of soccer, but it is a strange quirk that the Olympic title is the only international competition it has not won.
Their unheralded sailors, meanwhile, have sailed their way to podium after podium, winning more Olympic medals on the water than in any other arena.