• Sailing

Ainslie helps Oracle to remarkable comeback

ESPN staff
September 25, 2013
Oracle Team USA overcame a seven point deficit to beat New Zealand © AP

Sir Ben Ainslie's Oracle Team USA have won the America's Cup with one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history.

Skipper Jimmy Spithill steered Oracle's space-age, 72-foot catamaran to its eighth straight victory, speeding past Dean Barker and Emirates Team New Zealand in the winner-take-all Race 19 on San Francisco Bay to keep the oldest trophy in international sports in the United States.

All but defeated a week ago, Spithill and his international crew twice rallied from seven-point deficits to win 9-8 Wednesday. Owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, Oracle Team USA was docked two points for illegally modifying boats in warm-up regattas and had to win 11 races to keep the Auld Mug.

Oracle showed its incredible speed when it reeled in the Kiwis while zigzagging toward the Golden Gate Bridge on the windward third leg.

Four-time Olympic champion Ainslie was instrumental in Oracle's comeback after being brought in as a tactician; the move worked, as Oracle stormed to claim victory by 44 seconds and retain the Cup.

"What a race it had everything," Spithill said. "Man, these guys just showed so much heart."

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This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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