Mange Olsson Prize 2015 Awarded to Ben Ainslie

Published on June 16th, 2015

British sailor Ben Ainslie has been awarded the Magnus ‘Mange’ Olsson Prize for his long and successful career in sailing. Ainslie, one of the best sailors ever, will be the second international sailor to receive the Prize, which will be awarded at a Ceremony in Gothenburg on June 26.

Magnus was a sailor who everyone looked up to and admired. His reputation was as a true great of the sport who embodied an amazing spirit for sailing. I am very honoured to receive this award and to help work with the Magnus Olsson Memorial Foundation to support and encourage the next generation of young sailors, says Ben Ainslie.

Sir Charles Benedict “Ben” Ainslie was born February 5, 1977 in Macclesfield, UK. His track record in different dinghy classes is impressive. Ainslie is the most successful sailor in Olympics after reaching the podium at five consecutive Olympic Games from 1996-2012. In 1996 he won the silver medal in Laser and at the following four Games he won the gold medal. Following his gold medal in the Laser class at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, he then changed to the Finn class and took three consecutive gold medals in the Olympics 2004-2012. He has won gold at six World Cups in the Finn and four World Cup medals in the Laser.

Ainslie is the only person who has been awarded ISAF World Sailor of the Year four times and in 2010 he finished in first place in the World Match Racing Tour. In September 2013 he joined as a tactician during an Oracle practice session and the following day, he replaced John Kostecki going into race six of the 2013 Americas Cup. Oracle Team USA defended the America’s Cup by a score of 9 to 8 against New Zealand. Now stepping into a new role, as Skipper and Team Principal of Ben Ainslie Racing, Ben will develop and lead a British entry into the 35th America’s Cup, with the aim of bringing the Cup back to Britain where it all began in 1851.

Sir Ben Ainslie is a true champion. His ongoing dedication and love of the sport of sailing helps to grow the sport and makes a positive difference for many young people. It will be an honor to welcome him to Gothenburg, says Carl-Henric Svanberg, Chairman of the Magnus Olsson Memorial Foundation.

The award is named after one of the greatest sailors ever, and arguably its most colorful, Swede Magnus “Mange” Olsson. Magnus passed away after a stroke in April 2013. Shortly after, Magnus’ family and some of his closest friends created a memorial fund in his name. Its aim is to promote Swedish youth sailing and boating activities by awarding grants to individuals or organizations as well as present the annual Mange Olsson Award that honors an individual or organization – preferably with Magnus’ inimitable spirit and enthusiasm. The ambition is for the fund to continue to grow and many of Magnus’ friends, and the businesses he came into contact with during his sailing career, have committed their continued support.

Ben Ainslie will receive the prize at a ceremony in Gothenburg on Friday June 26 at 10:30am in the Volvo Ocean Race village stopover. At the same ceremony two scholarships will be awarded to young Swedish sailors. Scholarship recipients will also have the opportunity to receive mentoring support for year, from the recipient of the Magnus Olsson Award. The scholarship recipients will also be presented in Gothenburg on Friday, June 26. And on the same day there will be a “Mange Olsson Memorial Foundation Youth Sailors Workshop” – a workshop for boys and girls who take their sailing seriously.

As recognition of the strong links between Magnus Olsson and the Volvo Ocean Race, a special tribute will be presented to a crew member from the Volvo Ocean Race.

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Magnus Olsson. © Rick Tomlinson

The inaugural winner of the award was Torben Grael in 2014.

Background:
The Mange Olsson Memorial Fundwas created to continue the essence of enthusiasm, passion, and determination that Mange brought to the sport of sailing. In the spirit of Mange Olsson, the Foundation will inspire and support young sailors in Sweden, as well as reward international sailors who develop our sport at both a human and a competitive level. The Foundation will also enable a network for young sailors to exchange experiences with the more established sailors. The Foundation is financially supported by companies and individuals who wish to ensure that the values that Mange embodied, continue to live on.For more information, contact Mats Olsson at mats@offensivsport.se or +46 70 633 6130.

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