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Britain's Ben Ainslie on his way to sailing gold in at the Athens 2004 Olympics

In Olympic terms, Britain has ruled the waves at the last two Games.

In Athens, Team GB won two gold medals, one silver and two bronzes to top the sailing medal table for the second successive Games after taking three golds and two silvers in Sydney in 2000.

And Britain's sailors are expected to be among the medals again in Beijing.

Ben Ainslie is looking to win gold at a third successive Olympics after winning the laser class in 2000 and finn in 2004.

The 31-year-old is well-placed having won five finn world titles and the last two test events in Qingdao, where the Olympic regatta will be held.

If Ainslie takes gold, he will have matched Valentyn Mankin's feat of winning three gold medals.

However, Soviet Mankin is the only sailor to succeed in three different classes, winning the finn at the 1968 Mexico Games, the tempest in Munich in 1972 and - at the age of 41 - the star class in 1980 in Moscow.

Like Ainslie, Mankin also has a silver medal to his name, from the tempest class at the 1976 Montreal Games.

Gold for Ainslie would also keep him on track to emulate the achievements of Paul Elvstrøm.

The Danish sailor is the only man to win four consecutive sailing golds - the firefly class in 1948 and three finn titles in 1952, 56 and 60.

Team GB has set a target of four medals from its 18 sailors, racing in 11 classes, at the regatta in Qingdao. Do you think they will do it?

Peter Scrivener is a BBC Sport Journalist. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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  • 1. At 10:34am on 01 Jul 2008, blogpus wrote:

    I expected to read something about the effect that the algae problem in Qingdao is having on our sailing team during training.

    Clearing 100,000 tons of the stuff doesn't seem possible of attainment since the algae are continuing to proliferate - where do we go from there?

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