Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

London Olympics 2012 - Ben Ainslie secures golden place in history

by Matt Carter on 6 Aug 2012
Triple Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie wins gold in the Finn class. © Ingrid Abery http://www.ingridabery.com
At the London Olympic 2012 Sailing Competition, Brit Ben Ainslie admitted it had been the hardest two weeks of his life after he became the greatest sailing Olympian of all time on Sunday 5 August. Ainslie claimed his fourth Olympic gold medal – his fifth medal in total – to eclipse Paul Elvstrom’s (DEN) previous best of four golds won between 1948 and 1960.

The triumphant 35-year-old did what he needed to do in today’s double points’ medal race by finishing one place ahead of Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN), who had led the regatta from day one.

After a nail-biting final run to the line, in shifting, tricky breeze on the spectator Nothe course, an emotional Ainslie, who was the first Olympic torch bearer on UK soil, crossed the line to tumultuous jubilation from the phenomenal gathered crowd.

Ainslie said: 'That was one of the scariest races I have ever had to go through. The wind was all over the place making it very, very difficult. I stuck to it and did the job. It’s just an amazing feeling. It’s unbelievable.

'It’s been a really tough week. After six races I was in a bit of trouble. I thankfully turned it around and got it right when it counts. I don’t want to go through anything like that again in my life. It’s been incredibly hard, there’s been huge pressure for people to perform at a home Games. It’s been the hardest couple of weeks of my life and I haven’t slept much the past couple of days.

'The support out on the Nothe was amazing. We have never seen that in Olympic sailing so it was just fantastic. I can’t thank everyone enough who has helped me over the years to get to this point; my family, sponsors, the people watching. Everyone in our team, from the coaches to the support staff, the other team members and sailors, they are a fantastic team who have helped me get to this point.'

Ainslie won the first of his history-making medal haul - a Laser class silver – as a wide-eyed 19-year-old at Atlanta 1996. He then won three consecutive golds at Sydney 2000 (Laser), Athens 2004 (Finn) and Beijing 2008 (Finn).

In claiming gold Ben also matched the record for most Olympic sailing medals won in total, held by Torben Grael (BRA), who won gold in 1996 and 2004, silver in 1984 and bronze in 1988 and 2000.

The six-time Finn World Champion went in to today’s double points medal race two points behind Hogh-Christensen knowing that to win that gold he had to beat the Dane.

There had been widespread speculation that Ainslie may once again employ the match racing tactics that he used so effectively to win in Sydney and Beijing. But Ainslie first of all seemed to shy away from getting caught out in a one-on-one with the Dane with both sailors choosing opposite side of the course up the first leg. With the wind dropping it looked like Ainslie decided to keep a closer eye on Hogh-Christensen with the pair sitting in ninth and 10th position.

The only threat to Ainslie’s title defence at this stage - the Dutch sailor Pieter-Jan Postma – rounded the fourth mark comfortably off the pace in sixth. But a massive gain for Postma on the final upwind leg suddenly had everyone biting their nails.

Postma moved ominously up the fleet into third while Ainslie remained in ninth. But all eyes were firmly on whether the Dutchman was going to be able to creep one place further up the fleet, which would have handed HIM the gold medal.

Fortunately for Ainslie, and the thousands of nervous spectators on the Nothe, Postma lost out in a tussle with the Kiwi Dan Slater and dropped back to fifth, handing Ainslie his place in Olympic history.

Ainslie’s medal was Britain’s second of the day, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson having won silver in the Star class an hour earlier.

The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August.
RYA website
T Clewring - GenericSchaefer 2016 Ratchet 300x250InSunSport - NZ

Related Articles

Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr