Ben Ainslie has become the most successful Olympic sailor in history by securing the gold medal in today’s men’s Finn medal race, ousting Denmark’s Jonas Hogh-Christensen into silver.
The Macclesfield-born 35-year old, who won silver at Atlanta in 1996 has now won gold in four successive Olympic games to overtake the record of Danish Paul Elvstrom who won four successive golds up to 1960.
Ainslie had to come from behind in the event with Hogh-Christensen leading for much of the event leading into the final race. And things got heated in race 2 when Ainslie claimed that Dutch Pieter-Jan Potsman and his Danish rival teamed up on him claiming falsely that he hit a marker and forcing him to take a penalty turn.
Following the events on Friday, Ainslie said:
“They’ve made a big mistake. They’ve made me angry and you don’t want to make me angry.”
The ominous words, reminiscent of a certain fictional superhero, left people in anticipation that the Brit would channel his anger to close the gap on Hogh-Christensen in the race to the gold medal, which he duly did in the next race of the event with a tactical mastercalss on Saturday to set up the gold medal showdown.
The medal race, in which Ainslie had to finish higher than the Dane or finish at least in 7th to take the gold, was a close and tense affair with Ainslie’s Olympic title on the line. With the aid of the fervent home crowd behind him, Ainslie managed to finish in 9th, crucially one ahead of Hogh-Christensen to take the title and complete the historic achievement.
Frenchman Jonathan Lobert finished first in the race, with a time of 33:08 to secure the bronze medal but the day belonged to Ainslie who wins Great Britain’s 15th Gold Medal of the Games.