Sir Ben Ainslie
“I think certainly in terms of what your aspirations are, what your goals are, there really shouldn’t be any limits”
What does limit mean to you?
Sport is not really about limits, it’s about trying to take things to the next level, so it’s not something I really refer to or think about to be honest.
Who sets the limits anyway?
You get limits in terms of the technicalities, the engineering of boats, but they’re limits that we’re constantly trying to push the boundaries of and take higher, so I guess that’s a target, that’s a goal for us.
Why do you believe in Eliud?
Eliud is not pigeon holed by other people’s expectations, he’s only looking at his own performance, how he can be the best, how he can be the greatest sportsman in his own field. He achieves this by not being limited, not being pigeon holed and he works harder than anybody else to get to that level to achieve it.
4 x Olympic gold medallist, 1 x silver
1 x America’s Cup winner (AC34)
11 x World Champion
9 x European Champion
4 x World Sailor of the year
Ben Ainslie is a household name, not only in the sailing community but to Olympic enthusiasts worldwide. Ben’s infamous assertiveness on the water has, over the years, left competitors in his wake, no match for his admirable determination and ruthless tactics. However, these have not always been characteristics associated with the world’s most successful Olympic sailor. Growing up, Ben was quiet, diligent, unassuming, even shy and it was only sailing that allowed Ben to fully express, push and eventually excel himself.
At the tender age of 19, Ben had his first taste of Olympic triumph when claiming the silver medal in the Laser class in Atlanta, 1996. He came back four years later in Sydney to right a wrong and take his first gold. However, despite his smaller frame, Ben decided to push his physical limits and move into a Finn, requiring him to gain almost 20% of his bodyweight. Ben’s success in the Finn class was unprecedented and achieving three consecutive Olympic golds from 2004 to 2012 has secured his place in history. Ben’s victory on home water at the London 2012 Olympics was especially impressive as just six months prior, he had undergone back surgery to free a trapped nerve. In recognition of his remarkable Olympic career, Ben was knighted in 2013, of which he admits was ‘the proudest moment of my life’.
The America’s Cup has provided Ben a new challenge to focus on and he is currently heading the British bid for the Cup as the team principal and skipper of INEOS TEAM UK. Ben is no stranger to the challenge, having lifted the coveted trophy in 2013 after being substituted onto Oracle Team USA. Ben walked onboard the American boat 8-1 down to Emirates Team New Zealand in the final yet displayed a true masterclass in the art of match racing to guide his team to eight straight wins and ultimately defend the Cup. There was no doubt that this miraculous comeback required exceptional mental resilience and it proved Ben’s ability to put aside expectations and doubts and instead focus on the task in hand, something that he admires Eliud’s ability to do.
Ben’s faith in Eliud is unwavering and is based on his own knowledge of professionalism, he insists that “undoubtedly with his human performance and his endurance, he can achieve it no question.” Ben understands the commitment that goes into being an exceptional athlete and recognises Eliud’s attention to detail in all aspects of his preparation, “he’s only interested about how good he can be, how can he be the best athlete in the world and that’s why he’s so exceptional.”