London 2012 Olympics: Ben Ainslie sails into the history books with gold
ANDY Murray’s Gold was matched by a gold and silver in sailing, as well as a silver and bronze in gymnastics in another strong day for Team GB.
Ben Ainslie, 35, clinched his fourth straight gold to become the most decorated Olympic sailor in history.
Ainslie, who also won silver in 1996, overtakes Dane Paul Elvstrom, who won four golds up to 1960.
As Ainslie crossed the finishing line in Weymouth, he was handed a Union flag and a flare and sailed past the huge cheering crowds.
He said: “It’s times like this you are supposed to come out with something clever but I can’t think of anything. I am speechless.
“I am just so glad for everyone who has supported me over the last four years. It has been an amazing Olympics.”
The moment that Ainslie became the most successful sailor in Olympic history was very special, his father said yesterday.
Roddy Ainslie, who introduced his son to the sport when he was just eight, said the gold medal win in the Finn class meant everything to his son.
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.”
He added: “To Ben it is everything. He has worked so hard to get to where he has got.”
Mr Ainslie 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.
Meanwhile, Iain Percy and Andrew Silver took silver in the Star class for sailing at Weymouth.
And over at the gymnastics, Louis Smith won a dramatic silver medal on the pommel horse, missing out on Olympic gold by the narrowest margin after his overall score tied with Hungary’s Krisztian Berki.
Yesterday’s successes followed “Super Saturday”, Britain’s most successful day in modern Olympic history which saw Team GB pick up six gold medals – two in the rowing, one in cycling and three in athletics.
Women’s boxing got a rock-star reception when it made its Olympic debut yesterday.
The loudest cheer, unsurprisingly from the home crowd, came when Natasha Jonas stepped in to the ring and made history as the first British female fighter to compete at the Olympics.
It was a moment to remember, the Liverpool lightweight said.
“How could I not enjoy it – in front of 10,000 home fans. It is unbelievable to be here,” she said after her 21-13 victory over Quanitta Underwood of the United States.
“It is like a dream come true.”
The only noise to rival her reception was the roar when five-time world champion at 46kg, Mary Kom – a megastar in her native India and a legend in women’s boxing – stepped in to the ring.
Kom, 29, who has come out of retirement, won 19-4 on her son’s fifth birthday in front of an enthusiastic crowd at east London’s ExCel Centre.
After her bout at flyweight for fighters weighing 48-51kg, Kom said: “It is special as an athlete to go to an Olympics. I have been waiting for 12 years.”
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