The son of a noted sailor, Ben Ainslie is one of the top Olympic sailors and is the most successful Olympic sailor with four gold medals and one silver. He is also the only person to win medals at five consecutive Games, and in 2012 became only the second man to win four golds after Denmark’s Paul Elvstrøm. After winning a silver medal in the 1996 Laser class, Ainslie won three consecutive titles in one-person dinghy, from 2000 to 2008, and in the one-person heavyweight dinghy in 2012. Ainslie had the honour of being the first torch bearer as the Olympic flame made its 8,000-mile trip around Britain in advance of the 2012 Games, and at the opening ceremony he was Great Britain’s flag bearer. In addition to his Olympic medal collection, he has won six world titles in the Finn (2002-05, 2008, 2012), in the Laser (1999), and one in the Laser Radial (1993). In European Championships he won nine titles: four in Finn, four in Laser, one in Laser Radial class and one in match racing. Ainslie was rated ISAF sailor of the year three times, and was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2008, following his third Olympic title.
Despite all his world and Olympic titles, it is in the 2013 America’s Cup that Ainslie is remembered for his part in leading Oracle to a remarkable comeback from 8-1 down in the best-of-17 series to capture a memorable win for Team USA. Only a few months before this amazing comeback, Ainslie was knighted in what he described as the proudest moment of his life. He retired from Olympic competition after 2012 and concentrated on the America’s Cup. In June 2014 he set up Ben Aislie Racing (BAR) with the sole aim of winning the famous trophy for Great Britain for the first time. BAR won the World Series of qualifiers but subsequently failed to make it through to Challenge for the 2017 America’s Cup.