ORACLE TEAM USA sailor Ben Ainslie today received his Knighthood award from the Princess Royal at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London.
Ainslie, who has won four consecutive Olympic Gold medals and one Silver, was among a number of Olympic and Paralympic champions and key executives who were honored at the investiture ceremony. He joins a prestigious list of people to have been given the honor including Sir Winston Churchill, physicist Stephen Hawking and naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
“It’s a huge honor,” said Ainslie. “It’s something to be very proud of.”
Ainslie attended the ceremony with his parents, Roddy and Sue, and 8-year-old nephew Oscar Pels. In recognition of his Olympic win last summer, Ainslie has also been named the Rolex ISAF World Sailor of the Year and the British Yachtsman of the Year.
“2012 was an amazing year for British sport and for sailing. There’s a great history of sailing in the UK so to be a part of that is a real honor,” Ainslie said. “The Olympics at home was a once in a lifetime experience to be involved with… And it was great to be a part of what was a great year for British sport.
Ainslie won his fourth Gold medal, his fifth overall, last summer at the London-Weymouth Olympic Regatta. He trailed by 2 points heading into the medal race finale, but won the medal by placing 9th in the finale to leader Jonas Hoegh-Christensen’s 10th. The results left the two skippers tied on points and Ainslie won the tiebreaker by virtue of finishing ahead of Christensen in the final race.
Ainslie’s four Gold medals tie him with Paul Elvström of Denmark for the most Gold medals in sailing, and his five overall tie him with Brazilians Torben Grael and Robert Scheidt for the most medals in sailing.
“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,” Ainslie said after the Games.
“It’s been incredibly hard – there’s a huge amount of pressure to perform at a home Games. It’s been the hardest couple of weeks of my life, but you just have to get on with the job. This was one of the hardest courses I have raced on and I don't want to do anything like that again,” Ainslie said.