Launch of Ben Ainslie’s new sailing team will not affect his Olympic chances - Park

THREE-TIME Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie’s launch of his own team will not affect his chances at this year’s Games in London, according to Royal Yacht Association Olympic manager Stephen Park.

The new Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) team was launched in London yesterday and will compete in the 2012/13 America’s Cup World series, following the conclusion of the Olympics.

BAR will be underwritten by Oracle Racing for whom Ainslie will join for their defence of the 34th America’s Cup and Park believes such a move could provide a boost to British sailing both in the short-term and long-term.

“There is of course a risk that the commitments could have a negative impact,” Park said.

“From my perspective I think it will have a positive impact as it will allow him to have something else to focus his energies on.

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“That will keep him fresh for the times he does go Finn sailing. There is no sailing in AC45 campaign between now and the end of the Olympics so there is not a huge distraction in terms of time.”

He added: “The one thing about Ben is if he thinks it is going to impact his performance at the Olympic Games, he won’t do it because he has no interest in turning up and not winning gold.

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“In the bigger picture, I think it is fantastic for British sailing to have a boat that could well lead to a British-skippered America’s Cup challenge.

“For the mean time, it is just brilliant to have one of our Olympic sailors in the America’s Cup, competing at the highest level, operating and delivering top performances.”

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