March 16, 2012

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Star British sailor Ben Ainslie won't face further punishment for losing his temper with a TV cameraman at the world championships in December, keeping alive his pursuit of a fourth straight Olympic gold medal.

The International Sailing Federation's executive committee announced Friday that the penalties imposed on Ainslie in December were appropriate.

Further discipline could have cost Ainslie, 35, the chance to sail in the London Olympics. If he wins the gold in the Finn class, he'll become the most successful sailor in Olympic history. He also has a silver medal from the 1996 Olympics.

In December, Ainslie was disqualified from two races at the world championships in Australia after grappling with a cameraman on a media boat.

Ainslie was found guilty of gross misconduct by ISAF at a hearing. Being disqualified from two fleet races cost him the chance to win a medal in the Finn class, which he was leading at the time.

After finishing second in the ninth race, Ainslie jumped from his dinghy and confronted the cameraman aboard the boat after being angered by the vessel getting too close to the race and creating a wash that he felt helped one of his rivals.

He argued with the skipper of the boat, grabbed the cameraman, then dived back into the water and swam back to his dinghy.

Ainslie later apologized.

"It's not something I'm used to doing or a situation I've ever been in before," Ainslie recently told The Associated Press. "It was very extreme. I regret a lot what happened, but at the same time something obviously went seriously wrong for somebody to end up getting that upset and getting into that situation. It was just a very unfortunate situation and hopefully we can all learn from that and move on."

In a statement, ISAF said the executive committee "supports the decision and the report of the International Jury and the report of the Royal Yacht Association Tribunal that found that Ainslie committed gross misconduct and believes that the penalties imposed to date are appropriate. Accordingly, ISAF does not regard it as appropriate to conduct a further hearing into the incident and no further action will therefore be taken."

The RYA is Britain's national governing body.

Sailing in the Laser class, Ainslie won the silver medal in the 1996 Olympics and the gold in 2000. He moved up to the larger Finn class and won gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

Ainslie has been so successful that one British journalist called him "The greatest sailor Britain has seen since Nelson."

That would be Admiral Lord Nelson, whose victory over the French and Spanish fleets in 1805 is celebrated in London's Trafalgar Square.

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)