• London 2012 - Sailing

Ainslie sets up win-or-bust race for gold

ESPN staff
August 3, 2012
Ben Ainslie is well poised in the race for Finn gold © Getty Images

Ben Ainslie will win his fourth Olympic gold medal if he can beat Denmark's Jonas Hogh-Christensen in Sunday's final medal race of their Finn class.

Ainslie, a two-time gold medallist in the discipline, came into Friday's penultimate race of the competition knowing he needed to beat Hogh-Christensen to have any realistic chance of pipping him to gold on Sunday - and the Brit duly finished first as the Dane came third to set up a do-or-die final race.

Hogh-Christensen still leads the standings by two points but, with points from the medal race counting double, Ainslie knows if he beats him in the final ten-boat race he will be crowned Olympic champion once again.

With two races scheduled for Friday Ainslie had a great chance to make inroads into the lead, but he made a slow start in the opening race as he eventually finished sixth - gifting another point advantage to Hogh-Christensen.

In the second race, Ainslie somewhat ironically had Netherland's Pieter-Jan Postma to thank for keeping him in with a realistic chance at gold. Ainslie had got involved in an argument with both Postma and Hogh-Christensen on Thursday - accusing the pair of colluding to get him penalised in one race for an offence he did not commit - but the Dutchman held off the overall leader over the final straight at Weymouth to finish second and set-up Ainslie's final showdown.

Ainslie was top of the provisional standings for the first time in the competition at one stage in that race as Hogh-Christensen toiled in sixth, but he will at least now have the chance to be ahead when it matters - at the end.

Postma can still come in and claim gold - but he would need to win the final race and both Hogh-Christensen and Ainslie finish outside the top seven in order to cause an upset.

Ainslie's first Olympic gold came in the Laser class back in 2000, a discipline he picked up a silver in back in 1996.

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