posted on Aug, 21 2004 @ 11:25 AM
Ben Ainslie joined Rodney Pattison as Britain's most successful Olympic yachtsman by taking gold in the Finn class in Athens on Saturday. The
27-year-old, already assured of silver, needed to finish within 15 places of Spaniard Rafael Trujillo.
He crossed the line in 14th place, just behind Trujillo, to
maintain Britain's medal charge on the Saronic Gulf. Ainslie added gold to the silver and gold medals he won in the Laser class in 1996 and 2000.
Ainslie started his 11th and final race safe in the knowledge that he could only be denied another gold if he finished 16 places or more behind
second-placed Trujillo. And despite having to wait to get his glory bid underway due to light shifting winds, the 27-year-old made sure that was never
going to happen with a solid race to clinch gold. Trujillo took the silver with Poland Mateusz Kusznierewicz claiming bronze. Ainslie eased over the
finish line alongside Trujillo and the two medal winners exchanged smiles across the water.
The second gold medal is a remarkable achievement for Ainslie, who only switched to the Finn class in 2002. After only six months in the class he won
the Finn Europeans, the Finn Gold Cup and the 2002 Athens test event. The gold is Ainslie's third Olympic medal overall, with the Briton having won
silver in the Laser class at the 1996 Atlanta Games and gold in the same event in Sydney four years ago. Ainslie was ecstatic after his victory which
made him a double Olympic champion.
[Edited on 21/8/04 by TRD]