by Ben Ainslie
British sailor Ben Ainslie is honoured and ecstatic about the confirmation of his selection for the London 2012 Olympics. Ainslie reflects and shares his thoughts with us after learning of the news.
L-R Skandia Team GBR sailors Stephen Park (Olympic Team Manager, Kate Macgregor (Womens Match Racing), Hannah Mills (47) - London 2012 Olmypics
It’s an honour to be selected to compete for Team GB at the 2012 Olympics, having my selection for 2012 confirmed is obviously a big relief.
With only one place per nation available the competition was strong. Great Britain had four sailors in the top five on the world ranking (Giles Scott, Ed Wright, Andrew Mill and Mark Andrews) all battling for the one place at the Olympics. It meant I had to be at my best in every race to beat them and it’s a credit to those guys and how they pushed me all the way in every event.
After two years away from Olympic sailing I came back last November after a spell with the British America’s Cup team and I knew the pressure would be on to get back to form both physically and tactically. At the first event in Perth, as expected, I struggled. My fitness levels just weren’t up to scratch and I was too light for the boat.
After a hard winter of training, it was important for me to hit form coming into qualification year. After a second place in Miami in January everything came together pretty well. I was sailing the boat well and physically I had improved to near to my best form. I probably sailed at my best at the qualification regatta in June (Skandia Sail for Gold), it was one of the hardest events I’ve competed in, and winning there was decisive.
Even though it’s just me in the boat, it really has been a team effort. My coach David (Sid) Howlett has been working on equipment development as well as coaching on the water. Mark Andrews has been a really good training partner on and off the water and finally on the fitness/nutrition side Alex Hobson has kept me fit and in good shape for specific events.
Next up is the ISAF World Championships (Finn Gold Cup) in Perth, Australia this December – I’ll be heading out there in style at end of October thanks to British Airways! And UPS have expertly taken care of my equipment logistics knowing the equipment is safe is a worry off my mind I’m fully expecting my boat to arrive on time for the first time ever!
The key events ahead of the Olympics will be the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Finn Gold Cup (2012 World Championships) next May in my home town of Falmouth. It’s the place I grew up in and learnt to sail so it’s going to be very special. Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta is at the start of June at the Olympic venue just eight weeks out from the Games itself.
But it’s going to be all about getting the plans right for my fitness and preparation to peak at the Olympics, you don’t want to reach burnout before! Although it’s important to try and win every event you compete in, the Olympics are the end goal!
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