Four-time Olympic sailing gold medallist Ben Ainslie has announced he will not compete at Rio 2016.

Ainslie, 35, has decided to call time on his glittering Olympic career to focus on his America's Cup campaign.

Ainslie won the Finn class at London 2012 - his fourth gold medal in his fifth Games - but will not defend that title in Rio.

"It fills me with both relief and sadness to write these words but I can now officially confirm that I have donned my Team GB tracksuit for the last time," Ainslie told the Daily Telegraph.

"No more Olympic villages. No more opening or closing ceremonies. After almost 20 years entirely dedicated to the pursuit of gold, taking in five Olympic campaigns, I have decided I will not attempt a sixth at Rio de Janeiro in 2016."


Ben Ainslie
Sad to be announcing Olympic retirement but its been a great ride and I have to say a huge thanks to all those who helped make it possible.

Ainslie won silver at his first Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 in the Laser class and took Laser gold in Sydney four years later. He then moved to the Finn class taking gold in Athens, Beijing and London.

Ainslie did not announce his Olympic retirement immediately after winning in Weymouth. Instead he waited for the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) conference in Dublin to find out which classes would be on the Olympic programme for Rio.

He admits that had the Star two-handed dinghy been reinstated he might have considered "giving that a go" but it was not.

"Because of the wear and tear of a lifetime spent sailing, particularly on my back, which was a real issue this summer, it was always going to be an uphill struggle to do the Finn again in Brazil," he said.

ben ainslie

Ainslie has won five Olympic medals

Ainslie will now concentrate on an America's Cup World Series campaign with JP Morgan BAR.

"I feel increasingly confident that we can one day challenge for the America's Cup proper. Not at next year's event in San Francisco - that will be too soon - but perhaps the one after that."

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  • Olympics - Ben Ainslie File Photo

    File photo dated 05/08/2012 of Great Britain's Ben Ainslie.

  • Olympics & Paralympics Team GB - London 2012 Victory Parade

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Gold medallist sailor Ben Ainslie waves to the crowd during the London 2012 Victory Parade for Team GB and Paralympic GB athletes on September 10, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

  • Olympics & Paralympics Team GB - London 2012 Victory Parade

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Gold medallist sailor Ben Ainslie waves to the crowd during the London 2012 Victory Parade for Team GB and Paralympic GB athletes on September 10, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

  • Ben Ainslie Announced as Team GB Olympic London 2012 Closing Ceremony Flag Bearer

    LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie poses at Team GB House after he was announced as Team GB Olympic London 2012 closing ceremony flag bearer on August 11, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

  • London Olympic Games - Day 9

    Great Britain's Ben Ainslie celebrates winning the Gold Medal after the Men's Finn Medal Race in Weymouth.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 9

    Great Britain's Ben Ainslie today before winning another gold medal in the Finn class at the Olympics on Weymouth Bay. It is his fourth gold and elevates him to the status of greatest ever sailing Olympian, eclipsing the record of Denmark's Paul Elvstrom

  • London Olympic Games - Day 9

    Great Britain's Ben Ainslie celebrates winning the Gold Medal after the Men's Finn Medal Race in Weymouth.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 9

    Great Britain's Ben Ainslie celebrates winning another gold medal in the Finn class at the Olympics on Weymouth Bay. It is his fourth gold and elevates him to the status of greatest ever sailing Olympian, eclipsing the record of Denmark's Paul Elvstrom

  • London Olympic Games - Day 9

    Great Britain's Finn sailor Ben Ainslie is congratulated by Stephen Park (centre) Team GB sailing manager and team members after winning Gold in the Olympic regatta at Weymouth today.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 9

    Great Britain's Ben Ainslie celebrates winning another gold medal as he crosses the finish line in the Finn class at the Olympics on Weymouth Bay. It is his fourth gold and elevates him to the status of greatest ever sailing Olympian, eclipsing the record of Denmark's Paul Elvstrom

  • London Olympic Games - Day 9

    Great Britain's Ben Ainslie celebrates winning another gold medal in the Finn class at the Olympics on Weymouth Bay. It is his fourth gold and elevates him to the status of greatest ever sailing Olympian, eclipsing the record of Denmark's Paul Elvstrom.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 9

    Great Britain's Ben Ainslie celebrates winning the Gold Medal after the Men's Finn Medal Race in Weymouth, during day nine of the London 2012 Olympics.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 9

    Great Britain's Ben Ainslie lights flares as he celebrates winning the Gold Medal after the Men's Finn Medal Race in Weymouth.

  • Britain's Ben Ainslie waves the Union Ja

    Britain's Ben Ainslie waves the Union Jack after winning the gold medal in the Finn sailing class at the London 2012 Olympic Games, in Weymouth on August 5, 2012. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Olympics Day 9 - Sailing - Men's Finn

    WEYMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Ben Ainslie of Great Britain celebrates overall victory after competing in the Men's Finn Sailing Medal Race on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Weymouth & Portland Venue at Weymouth Harbour on August 5, 2012 in Weymouth, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

  • Britain's Ben Ainslie waves to the crowd

    Britain's Ben Ainslie waves to the crowds after winning the gold medal in the Finn sailing class at the London 2012 Olympic Games, in Weymouth on August 5, 2012. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Olympics Day 9 - Sailing

    WEYMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Ben Ainslie of Great Britain celebrates winning gold in the Finn Class Medal race at Weymouth Harbour on August 5, 2012 in Weymouth, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • Olympics Day 9 - Sailing

    WEYMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Ben Ainslie of Great Britain celebrates winning gold in the Finn Class Medal race at Weymouth Harbour on August 5, 2012 in Weymouth, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • Olympics Day 9 - Sailing - Men's Finn

    WEYMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Ben Ainslie of Great Britain celebrates overall victory after competing in the Men's Finn Sailing Medal Race on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Weymouth & Portland Venue at Weymouth Harbour on August 5, 2012 in Weymouth, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

  • Olympics Day 9 - Sailing - Men's Finn

    WEYMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Ben Ainslie of Great Britain competes in the Men's Finn Sailing Medal Race on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Weymouth & Portland Venue at Weymouth Harbour on August 5, 2012 in Weymouth, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

  • Olympics Day 9 - Sailing - Men's Finn

    WEYMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Ben Ainslie of Great Britain competes in the Men's Finn Sailing Medal Race on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Weymouth & Portland Venue at Weymouth Harbour on August 5, 2012 in Weymouth, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

  • Olympics Day 9 - Sailing - Men's Finn

    WEYMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Ben Ainslie of Great Britain celebrates overall victory after competing in the Men's Finn Sailing Medal Race on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Weymouth & Portland Venue at Weymouth Harbour on August 5, 2012 in Weymouth, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

  • Olympics Day 9 - Sailing

    WEYMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Ben Ainslie of Great Britain celebrates winning gold in the Finn Class Medal race at Weymouth Harbour on August 5, 2012 in Weymouth, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • Olympics Day 9 - Sailing

    WEYMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Ben Ainslie of Great Britain celebrates winning gold in the Finn Class Medal race at Weymouth Harbour on August 5, 2012 in Weymouth, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • Olympics Day 9 - Sailing - Men's Finn

    WEYMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Ben Ainslie of Great Britain celebrates overall victory after competing in the Men's Finn Sailing Medal Race on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Weymouth & Portland Venue at Weymouth Harbour on August 5, 2012 in Weymouth, England. (Photo by Getty Images)

  • Britain's Ben Ainslie waves to the crowd

    Britain's Ben Ainslie waves to the crowds after winning the gold medal in the Finn sailing class at the London 2012 Olympic Games, in Weymouth on August 5, 2012. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Olympics Day 9 - Sailing - Men's Finn

    WEYMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Ben Ainslie of Great Britain celebrates overall victory after competing in the Men's Finn Sailing Medal Race on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Weymouth & Portland Venue at Weymouth Harbour on August 5, 2012 in Weymouth, England. (Photo by Getty Images)

  • Great Britain's Ben Ainslie celebrates a

    Great Britain's Ben Ainslie celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Finn sailing class at the London 2012 Olympic Games, in Weymouth on August 5, 2012. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Olympics Day 9 - Sailing - Men's Finn

    WEYMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Ben Ainslie of Great Britain celebrates overall victory after competing in the Men's Finn Sailing Medal Race on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Weymouth & Portland Venue at Weymouth Harbour on August 5, 2012 in Weymouth, England. (Photo by Getty Images)

  • Britain's Ben Ainslie (2/L) is greeted b

    Britain's Ben Ainslie (2/L) is greeted by teammates after winning the gold medal in the Finn sailing class at the London 2012 Olympic Games, in Weymouth on August 5, 2012. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Britain's Ben Ainslie celebrates winning

    Britain's Ben Ainslie celebrates winning the gold medal in the Finn sailing class at the London 2012 Olympic Games, in Weymouth on August 5, 2012. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Britain's Ben Ainslie (3/R) is greeted b

    Britain's Ben Ainslie (3/R) is greeted by teammates after winning the gold medal in the Finn sailing class at the London 2012 Olympic Games, in Weymouth on August 5, 2012. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Britain's Ben Ainslie celebrates as he c

    Britain's Ben Ainslie celebrates as he crosses the line to win the gold medal in the Finn sailing class at the London 2012 Olympic Games, in Weymouth on August 5, 2012. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Britain's Ben Ainslie celebrates as he c

    Britain's Ben Ainslie celebrates as he crosses the line to win the gold medal in the Finn sailing class at the London 2012 Olympic Games, in Weymouth on August 5, 2012. AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Olympics Day 9 - Sailing

    WEYMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Ben Ainslie of Great Britain on his way to winning gold in the Finn Class Medal race at Weymouth Harbour on August 5, 2012 in Weymouth, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)