Brazil’s master yachtsman
Robert Scheidt has collected medals at each of the five editions of the Olympic Games in which he has competed, a haul that makes him the joint highest medal winner in the history of Olympic sailing along with compatriot Torben Grael and Great Britain’s Ben Ainslie
From Optimist to Laser
Born in Sao Paulo, Robert Scheidt has been winning races since he was a child, becoming South American champion in the Optimist class at the age of only 11. A gifted tennis player, he nevertheless decided to devote all his energies to sailing in 1986, a year in which he was selected to represent Brazil at the Optimist World Championship. After switching to Snipe, Scheidt then moved into the Olympic sailing class Laser, taking the 1991 junior world title in Scotland by winning all but one of the 11 races.
From Atlanta to Athens
On graduating to senior level, he won his first world title in Tenerife (ESP) in 1995 and a second the following year in Cape Town (RSA). A few months later came the first of his two Olympic golds, at Atlanta 1996, where he finished in the top three in every one of the 11 races to win convincingly from Ainslie.
The British sailor gained revenge at Sydney 2000, leaving Scheidt to pick up silver. Choosing to stay in Laser, the Brazilian showcased his gift for bouncing back four years later in Athens, mastering the light winds at the Agios Kosmas Olympic Sailing Centre to land a second gold and his third medal in consecutive Games.
From Beijing to London
It was then that Scheidt decided to try his hand at Star, the king of all Olympic sailing classes. Partnering Bruno Prada, he won another silver at Beijing 2008, where he also had the honour of carrying the national flag at the opening ceremony, and added a bronze to his medal collection at London 2012.
His record of two golds, two silvers and that one bronze has taken him ahead of Torben Grael as Brazil’s greatest Olympic sailor of all time and one of the country’s most successful athletes ever. In the meantime, he has also won 17 world championship medals, 12 of them golds, the last of them coming in the Laser class in 2013.
The fire still burns
“I think these five Olympic Games represent a life dedicated to sport, a life in which I have invested all my energies and all my time in making the absolute most of my potential as an athlete,” says Scheidt. “I am very proud of that, because each time has been a different story for me. You have to keep the flame inside you alive.”
By constantly reinventing himself, renewing his objectives at each step of his career and continually looking forward in a bid to stay competitive, Scheidt has been able to put together one of the great Olympic careers.