Ainslie hits the water and misses gold at pre-Games regatta
Saturday, 09 June 2012
June 9 - Britain's three-times Olympic sailing champion Ben Ainslie demonstrated that even the greatest of performers can sometimes get it wrong when he capsized on the final day of the last pre-Games regatta, thus losing his chance of winning in the Finn class at the Skandia Sail for Gold event at the Olympic course in Weymouth and Portland.
Ainslie's last public immersion (pictured above) on a sailing course was voluntary when a fit of rage with an unruly television camera boat at the world Campionships in Melbourne prompted him to swim over and give them a piece of his mind.
On this occasion, however, Ainslie simply made a mistake – which gave gold to his British rival Giles Scott (pictured below), whom he beat to the one Olympic slot available, and saw him settling for silver.
"It's a bit embarrassing going for a swim," said Ainslie.
"But sometimes these things happen.
"Thankfully it wasn't the Olympic Games.
"I made a mistake, we're all human.
"We were all pushing quite hard, I just got the wrong bit of gust at the wrong angle on the wrong wave at the wrong time.
"Obviously I did something wrong."
Ainslie admitted he had been a little under the weather all week.
"You have to deal with that, no excuses.
"I didn't sail particularly well either, so to finish second overall is not a bad result."
Ainslie felt the regatta had been a good learning experience for Team GB, who finished with eight medals in the 10 Olympic classes.
"It was a great effort," he said.
"If we could do that again in a couple of months we'd be very happy."
Alison Young (pictured above), in the single-person Laser Radial class, was one of the last to be picked for the team, but won gold.
There were good results too for the British men's and women's crews in the 470 class.
Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell finished with a silver behind the Australian crew of Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page.
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (both pictured above), who won the 470 World Championship last month, took bronze, as did windsurfer Nick Dempsey (pictured below), and Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson in the Star class.
Paul Goodison, the reigning Olympic champion in the Laser, just missed out on a medal and came off the water furious, believing the Australians had worked as a team to edge him out.
He pointed out that he would have only one Australian competing against him at the Olympics.
"He won't have his mates out there to help him next time," Goodison said.
May 2012: Ben Ainslie - That was a week to remember
May 2012: Sailing legend Ainslie kicks off Torch Relay from Land's End amid huge fanfare
May 2012: Ben Ainslie to be first London 2012 Torchbearer on British soil
April 2012: Ben Ainslie launches British Airways' first Carbon Fund project
April 2012: Ainslie and Percy fit and back in action at Palma World Cup regatta