Ben Ainslie – The Most Decorated Olympic Sailor

Our Olympic Quotation of the Day

6th August 2012.

Ben Ainslie - The Most Decorated Olympic SailorBen Ainslie is now the most decorated Olympic sailor in history, following his London 2012 Gold Medal and, today, we focus on him in our Olympic tribute.

Ben has been under a huge amount of pressure as favourite to win the Gold but it didn’t start well and the pressure piled on;

“When I started off on the back foot, people were upset that I wasn’t winning. That’s hard as a competitor. I had to fight back. I’ve been doing it a long time and been in a lot of scrapes. Thankfully I came through this one.”

Then he came across a bit like The Incredible Hulk when he sent the following warning to his sailing rivals during his pursuit for that Gold Medal;

“They’ve made me angry and you don’t want to make me angry.”

But there’s no doubt that the competition was tough;

“It was the most nerve-racking race of my life. I don’t want to go through anything like that again. There was nothing left in me.”

Although, Ben’s been involved in the America’s Cup, 2012 sees him stepping up to a new level (see more, below);

“It’s always been a dream of mine to be involved in the America’s Cup. I remember when I was a kid sailing Optimists down in Cornwall and there was a British America’s Cup challenge that was training in Falmouth.”

Of course, he has been involved three times but it will be interesting to see what the America’s Cup holds in store for Ben in the future.

A Bit About Ben Ainslie

Ben Ainslie Does The BusinessBen Ainslie, CBE, was born on the 5th February 1977.  He’s an in incredibly successful English competitive sailor, who in 2012, became the first person to win medals in sailing at five Olympic Games, and the second (after Paul Elvstrøm) to win four gold medals.

Ben’s been recognised for his consistent performance: He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2001 New Year Honours List after his success at the Sydney Olympics, he was then promoted to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2005 New Year Honours List following success in the Athens Olympics. He was promoted, once more, to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours List following his success in the Beijing Games. I wonder what honour will come next for Ben Ainslie?


Ben Ainslie Celebrates Olympic Gold in London

Copyright onEdition 2012©

Ben’s success is impressive. He’s won the International Sailing Federation’s top Award more times than anyone else, being named ISAF World Sailor of the Year in 1998, 2002 and 2008. He was also nominated in 2004 and 2011.

He was awarded the title of British Yachtsman of the Year in 1995, 1999, 2000 and 2002.

His list of World Championships Titles goes like this;

  • 1st 1993 Laser Radial World Championships.
  • 1st 1995 IYRU Youth Sailing World Championships in Hamilton, Bermuda.
  • 1st 1998 Laser World Championships.
  • 1st 1999 Laser World Championships.
  • 1st 2002 Finn World Championships.
  • 1st 2003 ISAF Sailing World Championships which effectively is the Finn World Championships.
  • 1st 2004 Finn World Championships.
  • 1st 2005 Finn World Championships.
  • 1st 2008 Finn World Championships.
  • 1st 2010 ISAF Open Match Racing World Championships.
  • 1st 2012 Finn World Championships.

But Ben’s also caused the odd controversy.

In 2011, at the ISAF Sailing World Championships, he was enjoying a winning position going into the closing stages of the regatta but was disqualified under rule 69 (gross misconduct) for physically threatening a photographer. Ben had felt the photographer’s boat’s wake had prevented him from passing a competitor and boarded the craft to accost him.

Ben was chosen to become the first person to carry the Olympic torch in the UK and, on the 19th May 2012 at Land’s End, he was the first of 8,000 torch carriers.  On passing the flame to 18-year-old Cornish surfer Tassy Swallow, he said, “It’s something I’ll never forget. It was an amazing atmosphere. But it’s back to reality tomorrow and training for the Olympics.”

Ben Ainslie Celebrates Olympic Gold in WeymouthHis gold medal at the 2012 Olympics was presented by two Royal former Olympians, Princess Anne and King Constantine of Greece.

So, what’s next for Ben Ainslie?

Well, although he’s participated three times, he’s yet to enjoy success in the America’s Cup. However, on 10th January 2012, ‘Ben Ainslie Racing’ was formally announced. Ben is the figure-head and with the support of Grant Simmers, ‘Ben Ainslie Racing’ will compete in the remaining AC45 America’s Cup World Series events.

The team has been underwritten by the American defender Oracle Racing, with whom Ben has close links, and the aim of the team is to help prepare the defender for competition and, hopefully, to provide the building blocks for a British challenge to the 35th America’s Cup.

It’s good to have a goal.

Have a great one,

Steve Bimpson

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