sport

Ainslie targets America's Cup

Ben Ainslie is determined to win the one competition that has eluded him so far in his career - the America's Cup.

Ainslie won his fourth successive Olympic gold medal this summer, but he could only finish ninth in Sunday's Sports Personality of the Year awards due to the incredibly strong shortlist.

The 35-year-old, who is the most successful sailor in Olympic history, has resisted the temptation to battle on for a fifth gold and will now turn his attention to the America's Cup, the team sailing event which has never been won by a British outfit.

"I decided to move on from Olympic sailing and the focus now is the America's Cup," Ainslie said. "We have a new team with JP Morgan BAR so that's a really challenge for us in the future.

"The America's Cup is something we have never won in this country and it's about time we changed that."

Ainslie has competed in the America's Cup before between Olympics, but the rigorous demands of training for the Games mean this will be the first time he has been able to focus solely on his commitment to the 161-year-old competition.

"It was right to give the America's Cup my full concentration," said Ainslie, who started his leadership of the JP Morgan BAR team this Autumn.

"I really decided I had to give it 100% of my time if we are going to make it successful.

"It will be a different challenge than the Olympic sailing. In my discipline you are sailing on your own. In the America's Cup it's a huge team, it's a big design challenge as well as a management challenge, but it's something exciting to move on to now."

Speaking on the red carpet before last night's Sports Personality awards in London, Ainslie recalled the moment he battled back to overturn Jonas Hogh-Christensen's lead in Weymouth and clinch the fourth gold of his career.

"It was a big relief because I'd had a long time in Olympic sailing, a long career, and I really wanted to try to win on home waters," Ainslie said.

"It was such a fantastic opportunity.

"This has been possibly our greatest year for British sport. We had a fantastic year. It was a huge honour to have been a part of it."