Ben Ainslie Sails through London

University of Exeter Honorary Graduate Sails into the record books

This incredible result makes Ben the most successful Olympic sailor ever, having won gold in four consecutive Olympic Games. 

The title was hard fought, with Ben spending most of the regatta trailing his main rival Jonas Hogh-Christensen of Denmark.  Going into the final day it was a three horse race, with Ben, Jonas and Pieter Jan Postma of Holland all in contention for the top spot. Thousands of fans lined Weymouth’s coastline to watch the historic event and were euphoric when Ben came through the blustery conditions to clinch the gold.

Ben has gained an impressive list of sporting accolades since he started sailing at the age of eight. Learning his trade on the waters of Restronguet Creek in Cornwall, his natural talents quickly revealed themselves and in 1993, aged just 16, he took his first world title at the Laser Radial World Championships. Since then Ben has gone from strength to strength winning five Olympic medals and accumulating a further nine world and nine European titles.

In 2005 Ben was awarded an honorary LLD by the University of Exeter in recognition of his sporting achievements.  Holly Peterson, Head of Alumni Relations, said “We are absolutely delighted with Ben’s achievements. His continued commitment to sailing and British sport exemplifies the spirit of Exeter. The University would like to send Ben our congratulations and wish him every success in the future.”

While there is still speculation about Ben’s participation in Rio 2016 he is hoping to continue his run of success in the America’s Cup World Series, where he has formed his own team, Ben Ainslie Racing. The World Series, which runs in the last week of August, in San Francisco, is a circuit of regattas competed in 45 ft multi-hull boats. Following this, Ben will join the Oracle Team USA in a bid to help them retain their America’s Cup title in 2013.

Sailing is one of 10 focus sports for the University of Exeter, with a number of international sailors graduating in recent years. In July, Sophie Ainsworth (Exercise and Sports Science, 2011) and Sophie Weguelin (Exercise and Sports Science, 2011) won Gold at the recent European 470 Championships.

Date: 6 September 2012