Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful sailor in Olympic history, exchanged his deck shoes for football boots today as he took part in a Laureus-supported project to help young people in Sydney.
Ainslie, who won medals at five consecutive Olympics from 1996-2012, four of them gold, earlier today visited a festival staged by Football United, an organisation which aims to break down barriers between young people from different backgrounds with a particular focus on refugee, immigrant and indigenous communities.
Ainslie said: “It was a great pleasure to be able to visit the kids at Football United during my visit to Australia. and chat to them about their experiences and see how sport can help them. And for me it was especially interesting to see a Laureus project in action on the ground. The lessons of sport whether it’s football or sailing are the same. It’s all about teamwork and learning to achieve your maximum potential, whether it is in life or in sport. That’s what I told the kids and I hope that they have bright futures.”
Ainslie, who played a key role in the Oracle Team’s victory in the America’s Cup in 2013, is currently putting together a British challenge for the next America’s Cup. He is back in Sydney at the moment, where he won the Olympic gold medal in the Laser class in 2000, to compete in the Extreme Sailing Series in his J.P. Morgan BAR racing boat.
In October Ben Ainslie Racing put their support behind the 1851 Trust, the charity aims to inspire and engage a new generation through sailing and the marine industry, providing young people with the education, skills and training to become innovators of the future, and stewards of the marine environment.