• Rio 2016

Olympic champion Ben Ainslie won't seek fifth gold

ESPN staff
November 27, 2012
Ben Ainslie won gold in London © Getty Images

Ben Ainslie, Great Britain's four-time Olympic champion, will not compete for a fifth in Rio after calling time on his Olympic career.

Supreme sailor Ainslie won gold at London 2012 to take his tally of Olympic titles to four. The chance presents itself for him to equal Sir Steve Redgrave's five in Rio, but he has decided not to put his body through another gruelling cycle.

''It fills me with both relief and sadness to write these words but I can now officially confirm that I have donned my Team GB tracksuit for the last time,'' Ainslie told the Daily Telegraph.

''No more Olympic villages. No more opening or closing ceremonies. After almost 20 years entirely dedicated to the pursuit of gold, taking in five Olympic campaigns, I have decided I will not attempt a sixth at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.''

In total Ainslie has five Olympic medals to his name, having started out with a silver in 1996. That came in the Laser class, which he won four years later in Sydney.

The 35-year-old then switched to the Finn class for three further Olympic titles, and was named flag bearer for Team GB at the London 2012 closing ceremony.

''Because of the wear and tear of a lifetime spent sailing, particularly on my back, which was a real issue this summer, it was always going to be an uphill struggle to do the Finn again in Brazil,'' Ainslie said.

He will continue to compete elsewhere, with the America's Cup World Series his next target. ''I feel increasingly confident that we can one day challenge for the America's Cup proper," he said. "Not at next year's event in San Francisco - that will be too soon - but perhaps the one after that.''

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