Ben Ainslie is waving goodbye to 2012 by declaring his determination to win the one competition that has eluded him so far in his glittering career – the America’s Cup.
The Lymington-based legend won his fourth successive Olympic gold medal this summer, but he could only finish ninth in the Sports Personality of the Year awards due to the incredibly strong shortlist.
The 35-year-old, who is the most successful sailor in Olympic history, has resisted the temptation to battle on for a fifth gold and will now turn his attention to the America’s Cup, the team sailing event which has never been won by a British outfit.
Ainslie said: “The America’s Cup is something we have never won in this country and it’s about time we changed that.”
Ainslie has competed in the America’s Cup before between Olympics, but the rigorous demands of training for the Games mean this will be the first time he has been able to focus solely on his commitment to the 161-year-old competition.
“It was right to give the America's Cup my full concentration,” said Ainslie, who started his leadership of the JP Morgan BAR team this Autumn.
“I really decided I had to give it 100% of my time if we are going to make it successful.
“It will be a different challenge than the Olympic sailing.
“In my discipline you are sailing on your own. In the America's Cup it's a huge team, it’s a big design challenge as well as a management challenge.”
Reflecting on his fourth Olympic gold off Weymouth and Portland last August, Ainslie said: “It was a big relief because I'd had a long time in Olympic sailing, a long career, and I really wanted to try to win on home waters.
“It was such a fantastic opportunity.
“This has been possibly our greatest year for British sport. We had a fantastic year.
“It was a huge honour to have been a part of it.”