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Celebrations as Ben Ainslie clinches fourth gold medal

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: August 06, 2012

  • Ben Ainslie

  • Crowds go wild as Team GB sailor Ben Ainsley wins gold as they watch on screens at the live site on Weymouth Beach, Dorset

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A dazzling display of Olympic brilliance saw Westcountry sailor Ben Ainslie power his way into the record books.

The 34-year-old who began his phenomenal career in Cornwall is now the most successful sailor in Olympic history.

Yesterday at Weymouth, Ben clinched gold for the fourth games in a row in front of a global audience of tens of millions who over the years have watched his supremacy of the waves flourish.

Ben's father Roddy said the gold medal win in the Finn Class meant everything to his son.

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He said: "I have watched him for 25 years. I have watched him in world championships, national championships, and quite honestly it doesn't really get to my heart. But today, the last one was very special.

"To Ben it is everything. He has worked so hard to get to where he has got."

Roddy said his son had struggled to regain fitness after suffering from back problems, but had been determined to carry on.

He described the crowd's support for the sailor as "absolutely amazing" and said he would give his son a hug as soon as he saw him.

Mr Ainslie said his son's success yesterday was the most difficult to watch of all his Olympic campaigns.

He said: "Without a doubt, the last four Olympics have been really, really tough but this one was nail biting to the very last minute.

"My hands are still shaking. He's worked since he was 16 to get a gold at the Olympics and just gone on and on and on.

"He's been absolutely amazing really."

Few could have enjoyed his victory in the Finn class more than members of Restronguet Sailing Club, near Mylor, where Ben started sailing aged eight.

Commodore Guy English said around 200 people crammed into the clubhouse to watch the nail-biting race on a big screen.

Mr English said the entire club was "hugely proud" of its former member's magnificent achievement.

He said: "Ben was brilliant – absolutely brilliant and we are hugely proud of his wonderful achievement.

"It was more like a football match in here today with everyone shouting, cheering and clapping – the noise was almost deafening. When he won people became very emotional and tears were shed – and not by just the ladies. We were all feeling it."

It's not the first time the club has helped an Olympic champion on his way. In 1948 David Bond, now aged 90, who lives at Feock, near Truro, also took gold.

Sarah Newton, MP for Truro and Falmouth, said: "I'm absolutely delighted for Ben – over the moon. It was a great victory and helps put Restronguet sailing club and Mylor on the map."

Ben's victory came shortly after fellow team GB sailors, and personal friends, Iain Percy and Sherborne's Andrew Simpson had to settle for silver in the Star class.

Commenting on Ben's win, Percy's sister Katrina said: "I think we're all extremely chuffed for Ben. We're very proud of him like everyone else.

"He sailed a good race today and now he has come out of it with an absolutely fantastic Olympic gold medal and now the greatest Olympian ever."

Today, Royal Mail will release a new stamp to celebrate's Ben's gold medal – the 15th Gold Medal stamp to be released. It will go on sale in more than 500 Post Offices across the UK, including in Truro.

A post box in Restronguet will also be painted gold.

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