Ben Ainslie: Biography highlights

Sir Ben Ainslie was the first sailor to win medals at five Olympics.

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Full biography of Ben Ainslie

Background / History

He first stepped into the limelight winning silver in the Atlanta Games before going on to win gold in each subsequent Olympic Games in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London making him not only Britain’s most successful Olympic sailor in history but also the most successful Olympic sailor of all time.

Now one of the worlds most famous sailors, Sir Ben Ainslie has had a passion for boats from a young age. Initially learning from his father, Ben’s sailing career began when he was 8 at his family home in Cornwall. He soon began to excel at the sport and what began as a hobby soon became a way of life. By the age of 16, he was already Laser Radial World Champion.

With the help and support of his parents, he went on to win his first Olympic medal (silver) at the Atlanta Games at the age of 19. Four years later, he won his first Gold just four years later at the Sydney Games.

Career

During his career, Sir Ben has been involved in sailing projects and competitions around the globe. Although he originally found success with the Laser discipline, in the year 2000 he changed to Finn Class. This was no mean feat because, in order to compete, he was required to put on 15 kilograms in weight. Approaching the challenge with his usual determination and positive outlook, he had soon put in enough training to support his team and to challenge rivals. After a few years of successful competing, Ben became the most successful Finn sailor of all time.

Having earned his reputation as the greatest Olympic sailor in history, Sir Ben Ainslie announced his retirement from the games after London 2012.

In 2012 Ben joined America’s Cup defenders ORACLE TEAM USA to defend the 34th America’s Cup on the waters of San Francisco. In September 2013, Ben has fulfilled a one of his childhood dreams by winning the America’s Cup sailing onboard ORACLE TEAM USA. In one of the biggest comebacks in sporting history, the defenders ORACLE TEAM USA, fought back against the odds to win the 34th America’s Cup 9-8 in a winner takes all race against the challenger Emirates Team New Zealand.

Also in 2013 Ben received his knighthood. The dedication and passion which enabled Sir Ben Ainslie to reach the pinnacle of sailing are evident when he addresses an audience. He is a true motivational speaker who is keen to show that skill, strategy and sheer determination are essential to success in all walks of life.

Current / Past Roles & Positions

  • Four times Olympic Sailing Champion
  • Eleven times World Sailing Champion
  • Nine times European Sailing Champion
  • Team GB’s flag bearer for the London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony
  • Winner of the 34th America’s Cup with Oracle Team USA

Awards, Accolades, Achievements & Honours

  • Knighted in the New Years Honours (2013)
  • World Sailor of the Year – International Sailing Federation (2012)
  • Nominee – BBC Sports Personality of the Year (2012)
  • First Olympic Torch-bearer in the UK (2012)
  • Flag- bearer Olympic Closing Ceremony (2012)
  • CBE (2009)
  • World Sailor of the Year – International Sailing Federation (2008)
  • OBE (2005)
  • World Sailor of the Year – International Sailing Federation (2002)
  • British Yachtsman of the Year Yachting Journalists Association (2002)
  • MBE (2001)
  • British Yachtsman of the Year Yachting Journalists Association (2000)
  • British Yachtsman of the Year Yachting Journalists Association (1999)
  • World Sailor of the Year – International Sailing Federation (1998)
  • British Yachtsman of the Year Yachting Journalists Association (1995)

Speaking

In his presentations, Sir Ben talks about his personal quest for Gold in the Olympics, the Laser and staying ahead as the fastest sailor in the world. He also candidly discusses his long-standing rivalry with Scheidt and the importance of strategy and technique. He shares with his audiences valuable insights into the preparation and efforts that go into becoming an Olympic Champion

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Available for:

After Dinner Engagement

Watch Ben in action

Playlist
1/2 videos
1
Sir Ben Ainslie’s talks Ineos Team UK's incredible boat and America’s Cup preparation
Sir Ben Ainslie’s talks Ineos Team UK's incredible boat and America’s Cup preparation
03:39
2
Olympics and Beyond | Ben Ainslie | Oxford Union
Olympics and Beyond | Ben Ainslie | Oxford Union
09:30
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