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Ben Ainslie in America's Cup victory
9:37am Thursday 26th September 2013 in News
Weymouth Olympic hero Ben Ainslie made a childhood dream reality by inspiring Oracle Team USA to one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history by winning the America's Cup.
The four-time Olympic champion helped his team recover from an 8-1 deficit to record a 9-8 success over Emirates Team New Zealand in the 34th America's Cup with a thrilling victory in the deciding race in San Francisco Bay on Wednesday night.
The 36-year-old said: ''We never stopped believing we could improve and get back into the competition.
''It got harder and harder for us, but ultimately we hung on in there and won that deciding race, so the team did an incredible job.
''We just grew and grew and in the end we were too strong for the Kiwis.
''I grew up down in Falmouth in Cornwall, we had an America's Cup team down there in 1987 and I remember as a kid watching them training and preparing and thinking about maybe one day being involved with the America's Cup.
''To be part of a winning America's Cup team is for me personally part of a lifelong dream.''
The hosts faced an uphill task from the start after being docked two penalty points, meaning they were 8-1 down last week despite having won three races.
Ainslie was drafted in as tactician, in place of John Kostecki, from the warm-up crew as his team looked to get back in the contest and was one of the catalysts of the turnaround which stunned the Kiwis.
''It was a pretty big shift,'' the Briton said on BBC One.
''It was a big call for the management to make, but I gelled really well with Jimmy Spithill, the skipper of the team, we got stuck into the challenge and we turned things around.
''It's quite unbelievable to think where we were 10 days ago, to come back from that.''
His role as tactician, which made him responsible for the route the boat took on the course, was different to his usual position as helmsman.
Ainslie dedicated the victory to his late friend Andrew Simpson.
British Olympian Simpson, known as Bart, was killed in a training accident in May, an event which so shocked the sport that there were questions over whether the 34th America's Cup would even take place.
''I finished the race today, one of the most amazing races I've ever been a part of, but myself and I think a couple of other guys on the boat, our thoughts are with Andrew and his family,'' he said on Sky Sports News.
''That race today was for him and he would have loved it.''
Ainslie believes the thrilling racing from the pair of state-of-the-art catamarans has won sailing a new set of fans.
''It's been great for our sport,'' he added. ''To see these boats tearing around at 50mph, the effort that's gone into the TV production and the footage that we've seen and these two amazing teams racing against each other I think is something we've never seen in our sport.
''It sets things up very nicely for the future, it's very exciting.''
And Ainslie wants that future to involve Britain.
He added: ''The America's Cup started in the UK in 1851, we've never had it back since, so it's about time we changed that.''
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