Ben Ainslie was tonight (Monday 26th November) revealed as one of the 12 contenders for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2012 after a record breaking year in the Finn dinghy class.

The 35-year-old became the most decorated Olympic sailor of all time after winning his fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal and fifth Olympic medal in total at the London 2012 Olympic Games.  

Ainslie now needs your support to help cap off his history-breaking 2012 in perfect style by voting for him to be named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2012, which takes place by way of public phone vote on Sunday 16th December.

No sailor has ever received the prestigious BBC accolade, awarded annually since 1954.

But in a year which has seen the Lymington based sailor overtake Denmark's Paul Elvstrom as the world's most successful Olympic sailor with five Olympic medals (four gold, one silver), the award would be fitting recognition of the complete domination of his sport over the past decade.

Ainslie won Laser class silver at his first Games at Atlanta 1996 and three golds at Sydney 2000 (Laser), Athens 2004 (Finn) and Beijing 2008 (Finn).

In 2012 Ainslie was also named 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year for a record breaking fourth time and claimed the British Olympic Association’s Athlete of the Year Trophy for Sailing, for the third time and the second consecutive year. 

In addition to his fourth Olympic gold, Ainslie secured the Finn Gold Cup for a record sixth time on his home waters in Falmouth as well as a gold and a silver on the World Cup circuit.

After such a stellar year for British sportsmen and women the BBC felt it was necessary to extend their Sports Personality of the Year shortlist of 10 by two, making it an unprecedented round dozen.

Last year Mark Cavendish took the top prize, but this year the sprint cyclist didn’t make the cut after a number of others blew away the competition at this year’s London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Cyclists Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy, tennis star Andy Murray, and athletes Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah are candidates in the 12-strong list. Rower Katherine Grainger, golfer Rory McIlroy, boxer Nicola Adams are other hopefuls which Ainslie will be up against. Paralympians Sarah Storey, Ellie Simmonds and David Weir also make the list for the award on 16 December.

The result, as selected by a newly revamped panel, will be announced on December 16 at London’s ExCel Arena, which was one of the London 2012 venues.

Voting will take place by phone only during the live show on the Sunday 16th December. The number to call to vote for Ainslie will be revealed on the programme, so make sure you tune in on the night!

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