In front of a home crowd Ainslie sailed his way to gold finishing in ninth place, one place ahead of Elvstrom’s compatriot Hogh-Christensen who had to settle for silver. Both sailors ended on 46 points with Ainslie taking the gold on a higher finishing position in the Medal Race. On becoming the most successful Olympic sailor Ainslie said, “I don’t think that will ever settle in. It’s an amazing thing and you talk about Paul Elvstrom and what he did all those years ago really revolutionised sailing, it was an amazing feat.”
It was a winner take all scenario Pieter Jan Postma (NED) came close to spoiling the party and taking gold, but he hit the back of Dan Slater (NZL) before the finish and did a penalty turn which saw him slip out of the medals entirely, meaning race winner Jonathan Lobert (FRA) took the bronze.
Ainslie added, “Sometimes it comes down to the crunch and you have to make it count. I’ve been really lucky in my career and when it comes to that I’ve done it.
“It’s been incredibly hard with a huge amount of pressure to perform in a home game. It’s been really tough and the hardest weeks in my life. You just have to deal with that, when you go racing it disappears and you get on with the job.”
The Dane had led the regatta from day one after double bullets but Ainslie reeled him. On the final race the Dane said, “I did what I wanted to do. I knew he would come after me at the start and I kept him at bay round the committee boat and got myself in a perfect position. Got the start, squeezed him off and couldn’t be much better. There’s no bad excuses, I did what I wanted to and it wasn’t enough today.”
Hogh Christensen was visibly disappointed immediately after the race and on shore, he added, “There’s no doubt I’m quite disappointed. I felt I had it in me to win this regatta. Looking back at this week I can definitely find a couple of points where I could have made my lead a bit bigger, but that’s sailing. You’ve got to fight for a week. You make mistakes and whoever makes the least mistakes ends up winning and I made one too many.”