Four-time gold medal winning hero Sir Ben Ainslie has sailed off into the Olympic sunset, but Huntingdon star Giles Scott has what it takes to step into his shoes according to double Olympic champion Sarah Ayton.
Rio 2016 will be Scott’s first Olympic Games, but the 28-year-old is undefeated for two years and, last month’s test event in Rio, and is firm favourite to claim gold next summer.
Scott is also currently training alongside Ainslie as part of Land Rover BAR – the all British line-up who are bidding to bring the America’s Cup back to our waters for the first time since 1851.
And Ayton believes working alongside Ainslie every single day can give Scott an extra edge on his competition in Rio next summer, as he bids to become GB’s main man on the water.
“This is Giles’ first Olympics, but I think hanging out with Ben will help him a lot going into the Olympics,” said Ayton. “We often find that when you’re in the action competing, it sort of breeds success.
“So I think if we start well in the first week in Rio and we win a few medals, it definitely make a difference to the overall standings.
“But for sure, Team GB are one of the best sailing teams because in every class there are good sailors and Giles clearly stands out.
“When times are tough, it’s people like that who make the others dig deep. Giles is a real asset to the team at the moment.”
Ayton knows exactly what it takes to claim Olympic gold, having topped the podium in the Yngling class at both Beijing and Athens.
And after a slightly underwhelming campaign at London 2012, which yielded just one gold medal (for Ainslie) and four silvers for GB, Ayton is confident the class of 2015 can improve on that haul.
She added: “We have some really good talent going forward to Rio. As well as Giles in the rest of the team we have Luke Patience, a silver medallist in the 470, who’s been on the podium a lot this year.
“Then there’s Nick Thompson, a world champion, and a bronze medallist in Bryony Shaw. The depth of the team is there; it’s strong and the aim will be eight medals of any colour.
“Rio is going to be a tricky venue. You can get big swell out in the bay or choppy shifty conditions so it’s an event where anything could happen.
“The attention to detail is there with Team GB so I know that the team will be doing everything they can to provide the sailors with the best chance, and hopefully they’ll bring home a few gold medals.”
Sarah Ayton, Ambassador of the Jaguar Land Rover Academy of Sport, mentored a range of rising star athletes as they visited the home of Land Rover BAR for a unique day’s experience and behind the scenes tour. For more information, visit sportsaid.org.uk