Ainslie rules out Rio appearance

Ben Ainslie has announced his retirement from Olympic sailing

Ben Ainslie has announced his retirement from Olympic sailing

First published in National Sport News © by

Four-time Olympic sailing gold medallist Ben Ainslie has announced he will not compete at Rio 2016.

Ainslie, 35, has decided to call time on his glittering Olympic career to focus on his America's Cup campaign. Ainslie won the Finn class at London 2012 - his fourth gold medal in his fifth Games - but will not defend that title in Rio.

"It fills me with both relief and sadness to write these words but I can now officially confirm that I have donned my Team GB tracksuit for the last time," Ainslie told the Daily Telegraph.

"No more Olympic villages. No more opening or closing ceremonies. After almost 20 years entirely dedicated to the pursuit of gold, taking in five Olympic campaigns, I have decided I will not attempt a sixth at Rio de Janeiro in 2016."

Ainslie won silver at his first Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 in the Laser class and took Laser gold in Sydney four years later. He then moved to the Finn class taking gold in Athens, Beijing and London.

Ainslie did not announce his Olympic retirement immediately after winning in Weymouth. Instead he waited for the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) conference in Dublin to find out which classes would be on the Olympic programme for Rio.

He admits that had the Star two-handed dinghy been reinstated he might have considered "giving that a go" but it was not.

"Because of the wear and tear of a lifetime spent sailing, particularly on my back, which was a real issue this summer, it was always going to be an uphill struggle to do the Finn again in Brazil," he said.

Ainslie will now concentrate on an America's Cup World Series campaign with JP Morgan BAR.

He added: "I feel increasingly confident that we can one day challenge for the America's Cup proper. Not at next year's event in San Francisco - that will be too soon - but perhaps the one after that."

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