Sarah Douglas competes at Sailing Olympic Test Event in Marseille, France.Vincent Curutchet/World Sailing
Vincent Curutchet/World Sailing

Sarah Douglas


Sarah Douglas made history in her Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 where her sixth-place finish in the Laser Radial (later renamed ILCA 6) was the best ever Olympic result for a Canadian woman in an individual sailing event. Douglas had qualified for the Medal Race in fourth-place overall after the 10-race opening series, where her results were highlighted by a second place finish in Race 10.

In April 2022, Douglas earned her first podium finish at a World Sailing regatta when she won ILCA 6 gold at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia, a World Sailing World Cup and the first major Olympic multiclass competition to take place since Tokyo 2020. One year later, she earned another major international victory at the 2023 Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères, France, finishing just ahead of Tokyo 2020 and 2022 ILCA 6 World Championship gold medallist Anne-Marie Rindom.

Douglas’ success continued at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games where she again stood on the podium, taking the ILCA 6 silver medal. Four years earlier, she had won gold at the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games, pushing through a bacterial infection that kept her mostly in bed when she wasn’t racing. She went on to post  a seventh-place finish at the official Olympic test event for Tokyo 2020, proving to her what perseverance could do.

Douglas’ success has come despite being diagnosed at age 14 with the genetic blood disorder alpha thalassemia, which reduces the amount of hemoglobin her body can produce. As an endurance athlete, having less oxygen carried throughout her body could put her at a competitive disadvantage, but she works hard in the gym to ensure her fitness level is among the best in her boat class.    

Douglas started sailing as a seven-year-old in Barbados and competed at her first world championships in the Optimist class when she was 10. She returned to Canada in 2008 to attend high school and moved into the Laser Radial class, quickly becoming one of the top youth sailors in the country.

In 2010, she competed at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in the Byte CII class. But after placing second at the Youth Nationals in 2010, Douglas lost her love of competition and spent the next two and a half years coaching youth athletes. During that time, she attended a camp for Team Ontario athletes headed to the Canada Games and was re-inspired to chase her Olympic dreams after hearing Rosie MacLennan speak about winning gold at London 2012. Douglas returned to competitive sailing in 2014 and was named to the senior national team in 2015.

She had a gradual rise up the international rankings, achieving a career highlight at the 2018 Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark where her sixth-place finish qualified an Olympic berth for Canada in the Laser Radial for Tokyo 2020.

A Little More About Sarah

Getting into the Sport: Started sailing at age 7, drawn by her family’s love for the ocean… Growing up in Barbados allowed her to sail year round… Older brother Greg Douglas is a two-time Olympian in sailing who represented Barbados at Beijing 2008 and Canada at London 2012… Outside Interests: Earned her Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Management at the University of Guelph in 2017… Ambassador for Fast and Female… Enjoys water activities (swimming, snorkeling, leisure sailing), cooking and anything associated with food… Odds and Ends: Never has green lines on her boat because they represent land and are considered bad luck…

Olympic Highlights

Games Sport Event Finish
Tokyo 2020SailingOne-Person Dinghy (Laser Radial) - Women6

Notable International Results

Olympic Games: 2020 - 6th (ILCA 6)

Pan American Games: 2023 – SILVER (ILCA 6); 2019 – GOLD (ILCA 6)

Sailing World Championships: 2023 – 24th (ILCA 6); 2018 – 6th (ILCA 6)

Class World Championships: 2024 – 26th (ILCA 6); 2022 – 15th (ILCA 6); 2020 – 27th (ILCA 6); 2019 – 31st (ILCA 6); 2017 – 12th (ILCA 6); 2016 – 21st (ILCA 6); 2009 – 21st (Byte)

Youth Olympic Games: 2010 – 10th (Byte)