Arise, Sir Ben Ainslie – yachtsman world class
The Westcountry's four-time Olympic sailing champion Ben Ainslie enjoyed a proud moment as he was knighted by The Princess Royal in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Cornish-born Ainslie, who won gold medals in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London, as well as a silver in Atlanta, was one of a number of Olympic and Paralympic champions and key executives who were honoured at the investiture ceremony yesterday.
A hard-fought victory at London 2012 made Sir Ben, originally from Restronguet, near Truro, the world's most successful Olympic sailor.
After collecting his knighthood, Sir Ben yesterday said: "It is obviously a huge honour. It is something to be very proud of."
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Now retired from Olympic sailing, Sir Ben, aged 36, who now lives in Hampshire, has switched his focus to the task of aiming to win the America's Cup, part of which was hosted in Plymouth in 2011.
Sir Ben, who learnt to sail in the waters off Falmouth in West Cornwall, was named British Yachtsman of the Year for an unprecedented sixth time in January.
In 2005, Sir Ben was awarded an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
Yesterday, Lord Coe was also given a special award and made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour at Buckingham Palace.
He paid tribute to the many competitors who made London's Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 a massive success.
The Olympian-turned-sports supremo, who was a Tory MP for Falmouth and Camborne in 1992, was the driving force behind an unique summer of sporting excellence as the head of London 2012 Games. He modestly revealed he is to share the award with his team at Locog (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games), volunteers and the enthusiastic British public.
Lord Coe joined a list of just 41 living members, with previous winners of the award including Sir Winston Churchill, Stephen Hawking and Sir David Attenborough.