Ben Ainslie eclipsed Paul Elvstrøm's (DEN) Olympic achievements at London 2012 by winning his fifth Olympic medal and fourth consecutive gold to become the most successful Olympic sailor of all time.
His build up to London 2012 could not have gone better as he returned to his boyhood waters in Falmouth, Cornwall in May for the Finn Gold Cup. Ainslie sent out a message to the fleet by taking seven race wins to storm to his sixth world title in the Finn class, and tenth world title overall.
Just hours later Ainslie rushed to Land's End to begin the Olympic Torch's 8,000 mile journey across Great Britain as the final countdown to London 2012 began.
The script had been written for Ainslie to ease his way to a fourth gold on his home waters but it was fitting that a Danish sailor, Jonas Høgh-Christensen, stood in the way of Ainslie to protect his countryman's record. Throughout 10 mesmerising races a game of cat and mouse developed ensuring that the Medal Race was one of the most anticipated of not only the competition, but Olympic history.
Ainslie held off Høgh-Christensen finishing ninth to the Danes tenth to win gold in front of a partisan home crowd and secure his place in the history books.
Acheivements between 31 September 2011 and 31 August 2012
Gold medal - London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, Weymouth and Portland, GBR - August 2012
2012 Finn World Champion - Finn Gold Cup, Falmouth, GBR - May 2012
2 - Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta Weymouth & Portland, GBR - June 2012
1 - Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE, Palma de Majorca, ESP - March 2012
11 - Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championship Perth, AUS - December 2011
9 Overall - 2011-12 ISAF Sailing World Cup
What inspired you to take up sailing?
My father Roddy was a sailor in the first Whitbread round the world race, his stories and passion for sailing gave me the inspiration to take the sport up.
What was the first boat you ever sailed and how old were you?
The first time I went sailing i must have been 8 years old, my mum and dad dropped me off by the dock and said here you are, we're going to meet you down the river at that pub see you there, and they were gone! I just had to get on with it, and I loved the feeling of being on the water and the freedom which came with that.
Name your first sailing club
What was the first event you competed in and in what year?
A local event at Restonguet sailing club with friends
What are you personal sailing career highlights?
There has been many amazing moments over the last 15 years, I didn't think the feeling of winning my first gold medal in Sydney in 2000 would have ever been beaten, but winning gold in London on home waters in front of a crowd of spectators (the first time in Olympic sailing), was just amazing.
What are your future sailing goals?
My biggest goal is to be part of a winning America's Cup team and bring the Cup back to Britian where it all started.
Who has had the greatest impact on your sailing and career and why?
I have so many people who have helped me to be where I am today it would be imposisble to list them all, but I would have to say Sid my coach has been a huge part of this journey. he has been thee through it all, the hghs and the lows and I am so greatful for all the time, patince and support he has given me over the years. I would also thank my parents, for all the times they took me to sailing events all over the country at the very beginning, the unwavering belief and support over the years that has enabled me to be where I am today I couldn't have done it without them.
Who is your sailing hero?
Paul Elvstrom and Russell Coutts
What other sports do you enjoy?
I try to play golf, I stress the try element but it's defintiely a learning process!
What does being nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards mean to you and how would you feel if you were voted the winner?
Obviously it is a great honour to be nominated it's been an amazing year in my career, but there have been some other amazing performaces out on the water and it is an honour to be nominated alongside these other talented sailors.