Ben Ainslie to carry flag for Team GB at London 2012 closing ceremony

 

Ben Ainslie, the most successful sailor in Olympic history, has been chosen to carry the flag for the British team at tomorrow's closing ceremony.

The 35-year-old won his fourth gold medal at consecutive Games when he triumphed in the Finn class - he also won silver in his first Olympics as a 19-year-old in Atlanta in 1996.

Ainslie, who has said he is unlikely to compete in the Olympics again, was chosen by the British Olympic Association's team leaders to be the flagbearer.

Ainslie said: "It's a really proud moment for me and for sailing to have such an involvement at the end of what's been such an amazing Games for the whole country.

"There have been so many people involved in making these Games so special, so I think one thing you'd say on behalf of all the athletes is thanks so much to everyone involved - all the volunteers, and the whole nation for getting behind the team.

"It's been our best ever performance at the Olympics, and I think a lot of that comes down to having so much fantastic home support."

British team leader Andy Hunt said there were a number of candidates for the role - it is understood rower Kath Grainger plus cyclists Bradley Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton were also considered.

Hunt said: "There are a number of worthy candidates from Team GB's ranks, athletes who have made the country proud and distinguished themselves through their accomplishments here at London 2012. But in becoming the most decorated sailor in Olympic history, Ben has earned the honour of leading our delegation into the closing ceremony of these extraordinary Games.

"As we pass the Olympic baton on to Rio, we as a team are privileged to have Ben lead the way."

PA

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