Ben Ainslie: The greatest Olympic sailor of all time

Carlo Borlenghi / / FIV
British legend overtakes Paul Elvstrom after a drama-laden Finn medal race (inc. updated league table of medallists)
Ben Ainslie became the greatest Olympic sailor of all time today, winning the Finn medal race at London 2012 on Weymouth’s Nothe course in front of 4,600 ticketed spectators and at least as many again, packed around the shoreline either side of the ‘official’ ticketed area. The Finn medal race was a complicated edge-of-seat affair with the Nothe in unpredictable form, the wind the lightest we have seen all week and blowing across Portland Harbour. In addition to some pre-start match racing between Ainslie and his Danish arch-rival, Jonas Høgh-Christensen, a crucial part of the medal race was the part played by Dutch sailor Pieter-Jan Postma, who started the day in third place, 14 points astern of second placed Ainslie, in turn two points behind the Dane. On the last run, as Ainslie and Høgh-Christensen were languishing at the back of the 10 boat fleet, in ninth and tenth places respectively, Postma had to finish second or better to secure gold (which would have been an interesting scenario, leaving all three boats on 46 points...) Coming into the very last mark of the course before the reach in to the finish, the Dutchman was third, immediately behind, and attempting desperately to get around, the Finn of Kiwi Dan Slater, as both boats were approaching the mark on port. In trying to get around, a wave caught Postma’s boat and his boom touched the Kiwi’s and he was forced to carry out a penalty turn. With this Postma’s lost the bronze medal that was in his grasp at the time, transferring it to winner of the medal race, France’s Jonathan Lobert. As Dan Slater recounted: “It was one of those things. PJ is a great friend and I didn’t know the exact points and we were coming down the run and all I wanted