London 2012

Ben Ainslie

With gold medals at four consecutive Olympics to his name, Ben Ainslie is Britain's greatest sailor of all time.

Fascinating Facts:

  • Ainslie is the only sailor ever to be crowned ISAF World Sailor of the Year three times (1999, 2002, and 2008).
  • His father Roderick 'Roddy' Ainslie captained a boat that took part in the first Whitbread Round The World Race in 1973.
  • He finished 37th in his first international competition in 1989 - the Optimist world championships in Japan.

The 35-year-old, who was born in Macclesfield, began sailing when he was just four-years-old and by the age of 16 was already the Laser Radial World Champion.

He clinched silver in the Laser class at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 aged 19 before winning his first gold at the 2000 Millennium Games in Sydney - also in a Laser.

For the 2004 Olympics in Athens Ainslie put on 40lbs in weight and moved up to the larger Fin class boats, in which he claimed his second gold medal.

And then four years later he completed his Olympic hat-trick, winning the Finn class again at the Beijing Olympics.

Ainslie topped his glittering career on the water with his fourth gold medal in the Finn class at his home Games in London in 2012.

However, shortly after the Olympic summer, Ainslie announced in November that he will not be competing at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Instead, the sailor wants to focus on his America's Cup campaign.

Throughout his Olympic career, Ainslie has accumulated many awards; appointed an MBE in 2001 following his success in Sydney, an OBE after his Athens triumph and was promoted to a CBE with his gold in China in 2008.

His position within British sport was also highlighted in the build-up to London as he was nominated to be the first person to run with the Olympic torch as well as later being Team GB's flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony.

Ben Ainslie

  • DOB: 5/2/1977
  • Event: Sailing
  • Medals: 4 Gold, 1 Silver