Ben Ainslie

Ben Ainslie

Ben Ainslie is riding high after claiming a fourth gold medal at the London Games earlier this summer - making him the most successful sailor of all time.

And I caught up with him to chat about his Olympic experience, how he has found all of the support and what lies ahead.

- You have had some time to digest your Olympic experience and the gold medal that you won so how would you sum up your 2012 Games when you look back on it now?

The 2012 Games are certainly one I will remember, it was an incredibly tough week of racing and to win Gold was just a huge relief more than anything.

Being asked to be Team GB’s flag bearer at the Closing Ceremony was a huge honour - it really concluded an incredible games for me.

- In the process of winning that gold medal you have now become the most successful sailor of all time and one of the most decorated British athletes so how do you feel about that?

It’s an amazing feeling, when I first started sailing at 8 years old in an Optimist I never could have dreamed I would be where I am today.

- And to celebrate your success you sailed up the Thames in London last week to celebrate your success - that must have been a nice moment for you?

It was really nice to get out on the river and have some fun in Rita, it was fantastic to see all the support from the people who came out and watched, and meet some of the people who have supported me throughout. It was a really nice moment.

- What everyone has talked about throughout the Games has been the support from the public so how did you find the fans down in Weymouth?

The support down in Weymouth was incredible, as you can see from the pictures of the Nothe on the medal race day it was absolutely packed out, there were Union Jack flags everywhere. It was a fantastic sight.

- And what has the support like since the Games and your success?

It’s been phenomenal, from my family, friends, fellow athletes and the public reaction - the support has been amazing

- Before the Games everyone was looking for you to bring home the medal so how did you deal with that pressure?

There’s always pressure at Olympic Games and with this year being on home soil and the pressure on for fourth medal it was intense, but I just had to put all that to the back of my mind and just sail the best races I could.

- The 2012 Games is all about legacy so what do you hope these Games will do for your sport here in this country?

With the developments down at Weymouth and Portland with the WPNSA I hope that sailing will become more accessible and more young people will be encouraged to get into the sport.

- And there were be plenty of kids up and down the country wanting to try out sailing so what advice would you give to them?

Just head to your local sailing club and get involved, sign up to some weekend courses - if you’re going to take it seriously then take as much advice as you can from people around you like your instructors and coaches.

- Rita has now been retired so how difficult a moment was that?

Of course I was sad to say goodbye to Rita, she’s been through a lot with me and we had a great run. Hopefully the new Rita (AC45) will deliver just as well.

- Finally what's next for you?

My team J.P. Morgan BAR are currently out in San Francisco competing in the America’s Cup World Series.

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

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