Ben Ainslie is Britain's most successful Olympic sailor ever!
Ben Ainslie's career in sailing began at the age of 8 with his family in Restronguet, Cornwall. Ben's father Roddy was a proficient sailor who had skippered 'Second Life' in the first Whitbread Round the World Race of 1973-74. What started as a hobby quickly turned into a way of life, and by the age of 16 Ben was already Laser Radial World Champion. With the help and continuous support of both his parents, at just 19 years old Ben won his first Olympic medal – Silver in the Laser class at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
A Dream Come True
Four years later, again sailing the Laser, he achieved every athlete's dream of Olympic Gold at the Sydney Olympics.
After Sydney, Ben changed focus and spent fourteen months with the 'One World Challenge' America's Cup campaign, but soon felt that Olympic sailing, and in particular switching classes from the Laser to the Finn Class, was what he wanted to pursue at that point in his life.
The move to the Finn meant Ben had to increase his bodyweight by 15 kilos to achieve the optimum weight for the larger Finn class. This grueling training programme paid off when in 2002, a little over a year after changing classes, Ben won the Finn World Championships. He successfully defended this world title for the following 2 years, equaling the record of three wins set by Brazillian Jorg Bruder in the early '70's. In 2005 he then made history to become the most successful Finn sailor ever by winning his fourth successive Finn Gold Cup. It was Gold again at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, in the larger Finn Class.
After Athens, Ben was given the opportunity to join Emirates Team New Zealand and re-enter the Americas Cup arena. His role was as an afterguard member and 'B-boat' helmsman. He successfully competed on the World Match Racing Tour on behalf of Emirates Team New Zealand. After a closely fought battle, Emirates Team New Zealand lost to America's Cup defender Alinghi.
Ben has won eight World and European Championships in his sailing career to date, been crowned ISAF World Sailor of the Year in 1998 and 2002, and four times won British Yachtsman of the Year.
In September 2007, the British America's Cup Campaign “Origin” announced Ben as skipper for the 33rd America's Cup challenge in 2009. Ben continues to race at the highest level in his Finn. In January 2008, Ben was announced as the Olympic representative in the Finn for Great Britain at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. In January 2008 Ben also secured an unprecedented fifth world title, at the Finn Gold Cup in Melbourne; Ben already held the world record for the number of wins in this long established and legendary Olympic class. Beijing has been Ben's fourth Olympics and his Gold medal has cemented him as one of the Britain's greatest ever Olympians.