Ben Ainslie may have called time on his Olympic career but he is already looking forward to the next chapter, which he hopes will bring success in the America’s Cup.
The 35-year-old became the most successful Olympic sailor of all time this summer, collecting a fourth gold that, coupled with the silver picked up in Atlanta, saw him usurp Denmark’s legendary Paul Elvstrom.
Few had expected Ainslie to add to that haul in Rio de Janeiro due to America’s Cup commitments and the toll dinghy sailing was having on his body.
It was a move that was confirmed yesterday and one that leaves him excited for the future.
“It is the close of one chapter and start of another,” said Ainslie.
“I am obviously not retiring from sailing in general, it is just the Olympic side of the sport.
“In many ways, it is actually quite exciting to be able to focus 100 per cent on this new project with the America’s Cup.
“That is really the main reasoning behind it and also, in some ways, due to the class selection for 2016.
“It didn’t necessarily help with the injuries I’ve had over the last 12 months.
“Really, after some careful consideration, it was the right decision to take and it is a good one.
“Certainly I have had a fantastic year. I have been very fortunate to have a great Olympic career and this is the right time to bow out with a really exciting new challenge ahead.”
That challenge will see him focus on the America’s Cup and the team he launched in January of this year.
Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) are currently competing in the 2012-13 America’s Cup World Series and were formed with a long-term vision of challenging for the 35th America’s Cup.
Ainslie will be Oracle Team USA helmsman in the 34th edition and wants to add America’s Cup glory to his Olympic successes.
“I am perhaps enjoying my sailing more than ever,” he said.