For his America's Cup work
Sir Ben Ainslie has won the Leadership in Sport Award. The gong was presented to Ainslie by Stuart Lancaster, Head Coach of England Rugby, in recognition of the formidable role the sailor played in the 2013 America’s Cup – masterminding one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history.
“The master tactician; the leader; the talisman,” were the words chosen by Lancaster to describe Ainslie and his part in the turnaround of Team Oracle USA when they were out for the count, trailing 8-1 to their opponents from New Zealand. “His steely nerves, determination and a ruthless desire to win ensured that the oldest international sporting trophy was won by Team Oracle USA,” Lancaster added. “But the comeback was delivered and masterminded by the truest of Brits.”
On collecting the Awards a visibly moved Ainslie said: “This goes to show if you work hard and really believe in what you’re doing, you can make it happen.”
Ainslie is considered the most successful sailor in Olympic history having won medals at five consecutive Olympics from 1996 to 2012, including gold at the last four, but his triumph in the America’s Cup, having been recruited with his team 8-1 down in the first-to-nine competition, has perhaps been his greatest triumph to date.
The Leadership in Sport Award, sponsored by The Inzito Partnership, recognises the significant need for leadership within sport, rewarding the individual or individuals who have proven themselves the most in this regard over the past 12 months. In winning the Award, Ainslie follows in the footsteps of Lord Deighton, the CEO of London 2012, and Sir Dave Brailsford, the former Performance Director of British Cycling.
BT are the Headline Partners of the BT Sport Industry Awards. Official Partners include Barclays, Deloitte and Eurosport. For more information on the event and the winners, go to www.sportindustry.biz