The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed on Thursday that the Star class will not be sailing in the Rio 2016 Olympics, according to a report from Brazilian media. The official recognition came with the release of the classification criteria for the Olympics, which closes any possibility of inclusion of new classes, as it would need a change to rules that are already in place.
The Star Class is recognized worldwide as possibly the toughest and most competitive class of all to sail. Star sailor ranks include Olympic Gold Medalists, World Champions in their own class and from several other disciplines as they generally tend to head off and take the trophies in a huge variety of different class events. It has even been said that to be an International Star Class World Champion is a more difficult title to obtain than an Olympic gold medal
The Star class is steeped in history and has been sailed since the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932.
Over the years Brazil has done well in the Star, winning six Olympic medals: two gold, one silver and three bronze. Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada were on the podium in Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
The exclusion of the Star from the Olympic roster was decided by ISAF in 2011. In its place came the 49er class FX, in which Brazilian Martine Grael and Kunze Kahena were runners-up this year and currently lead the world rankings.
Since then, the presidency changed at ISAF. (the new leader Carlo Crochet (ITA) is in favour of maintaining the Star), and athletes have made public calls for the reinstatement of the class. In addition, there has been a Brazilian desire for the most successful class for the country to be sailed in the Rio Games, with support coming from Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
However, the decision of the IOC Executive Committee meeting in Sochi, Russia this week was to uphold the 2011 decision. So the Olympic classes for 2016 are: RS: X, Laser, Laser Radial, 470 Men and Women, 49er and 49er FX, the Finn and the newest boat the mixed class multihull the Nacra 17.
As the host nation Brazil has a guaranteed place in each class.
The World Championships in Santander (Spain), later this year, will provide qualifications for 138 country places for Rio. Another 47 will come from the World Class championships in 2015 and the remaining 75 will be decided at Continental championships, a first in the Olympic sailing classification system. Each country can have only one boat per class.