Sailor Ainslie chosen to carry flag

Ben Ainslie, the most successful sailor in Olympic history, will carry the flag for the British team at Sunday's closing ceremony.

London 2012 saw Ainslie, 35, win his fourth consecutive gold to add to the silver he won in his first Olympics as a 19-year-old in Atlanta in 1996.

The hard-fought gold on Weymouth's waters, when he battled from a losing position, confirmed his place in the record books surpassing the four consecutive golds won by Danish sailor Paul Elvstrom.

Ainslie, who is unlikely to compete at another Olympics, said: "It's a really proud moment for me and for sailing to have such an involvement at the end of what's been such an amazing Games for the whole country.

"There have been so many people involved in making these Games so special, so I think one thing you'd say on behalf of all the athletes is thanks so much to everyone involved - all the volunteers, and the whole nation for getting behind the team.

"It's been our best ever performance at the Olympics, and I think a lot of that comes down to having so much fantastic home support."

The British Olympic Association's team leaders named Ainslie as flagbearer ahead of fellow gold medallists, rower Kath Grainger plus cyclists Bradley Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton.

Team GB's Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said: "In becoming the most decorated sailor in Olympic history, Ben has earned the honour of leading our delegation into the closing ceremony of these extraordinary Games. As we pass the Olympic baton on to Rio, we as a team are privileged to have Ben lead the way."

The Olympic closing ceremony will be "party, party, party," according to London 2012 chairman Lord Coe.

Artistic director Kim Gavin said: "We want it to be the best after-show party there has ever been." The two hour and 45 minute grand finale starts with Elgar and Waterloo Sunset at 9pm. "Any more than that and we would spoil the surprise," Mr Gavin said at a press conference. "We are still rehearsing and waiting for the final line-up."