Having won one silver and then three straight gold medals in the four Games in which he has participated, Ben Ainslie is already Britain's greatest ever Olympic sailor and one of the most decorated British Olympians of all time.
However, Ainslie, who will be 35 by the start of the Olympics, is far from finished. A fourth consecutive Olympic title in London would equal sailing's gold-medal record of four set by Denmark's Paul Elvstrom from the 1948 to 1960 Games.
The son of a sailor, Ainslie started out in the sport at the age of eight and won the first of his nine world titles at the age of 16.
His Olympic debut came in the Laser class at the Atlanta Games in 1996, where he struck silver. He went one better to win his first gold in Sydney four years later, before moving up to the Finn class, which he has since dominated.
The second and third Olympic gold medals followed in Athens and Beijing respectively, and as the world titles continued to come, so too did the national recognition. Ainslie was made an MBE in 2001, OBE in 2005 and CBE in 2009.
Ainslie has an aggressive style, but he is aware he will need to keep his discipline better at London 2012 than he did at last year's World Championships in Perth.
Ainslie, who had just crossed the finishing line in second place in the ninth race, dived into the water, swam over to a boat carrying a television crew and clambered aboard to remonstrate with the skipper. He was disqualified — a rare setback in an otherwise glittering career.
Five Ben Ainslie facts:
- Ainslie was the first Olympic torchbearer in his native Cornwall only days after winning the Finn world title in Falmouth.
- He has three Olympic titles, 10 world titles and nine European titles. He was Laser Radial world champion at just 16 years of age and claimed his first Olympic medal, a silver in the Laser class at the 1996 Atlanta Games, at 19.
- Ainslie has been ISAF World Sailor of the Year three times: 1999, 2002 and 2008. He is the only sailor to achieve the feat.
- Roderick 'Roddy' Ainslie, Ben's father, was captain of a boat that competed in the first Whitbread Round The World Race in 1973 — 'Second Life'.
- He was once rescued by the RNLI after destroying a boat with fellow Olympic champion Iain Percy.