Windsurfing at the Olympics

Sailing has been a major sport at the Olympics since the beginning of the modern Games, though a windsurfing event (also known as sailboarding or boardsailing) has only been on the Olympic Games program since 1984. A women's event was included for the first time in 1992.

Olympic windsurfing uses 'One Design' boards, meaning all sailors use the same boards, daggerboards, fins and sails, so the competition is not based on who has the best boards, but who is the best sailor.

When the sport was first at the Olympics, there were two types of boards available for possible inclusion, the original Windsurfer One Design or the Windglider. The IOC chose to use the Windglider as the official craft, though it was only used for that one Olympiad. It was a controversial decision, and there ended up being a demonstration windsurfing event held concurrently, using the Windsurfer One Design.

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A windsurfing event has been on the Olympic program ever since 1984, though the event details and the type of board used has varied over time.

The future of Olympic Windsurfing?

The International Sailing Federation announced in May 2012 that kitesurfing would replace windsurfing for the 2016 Rio Olympics, but this was later overturned. Windsurfing also survived to be on the program in Tokyo 2020, though in Paris 2024 a kiteboarding event has been added, and the future of Olympic windsurfing is uncertain.

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