Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Gold Medal for the Old Guy

What an incredible way to end the Olympic Show Jumping Competition in Rio on Friday.  Talk about highlighting an already outstanding career on the horse of a lifetime, Big Star.  I love that the "old guy" won it, Nick Skelton at age 58.  He's Britain's oldest gold medalist since 1908, he's the oldest medalist in Rio (as of Friday anyway) and he is the oldest medalist ever in Olympic equestrian history.  And I also love that he rides in an old Stubben saddle!

Not that Skelton has never seen gold, he did win the team gold in London on the same horse and he's been to seven Olympic Games.  But he didn't have a stellar Olympics in the team competition at Rio.  He came into the individual competition by placing 33rd in the team competition which meant he had to go first in the order. You never want to go first in the order but this time it paid off because his horse had more time to rest between the three rounds.  He was one of 13 to jump clean and six were in the jump off for the gold medal. He went first in the order and was one of only two clear rounds.  He has said that he will retire when Big Star retires. But what makes the win even more sweet is that this horse and this rider have each seen their share of injuries.  Skelton suffering an almost career ending injury right before the Sydney Olympic Games but managed to come back.  He needs a carefully placed stepladder to mount a horse.  What an amazing feat to overcome a lot of adversity and rise again to the pinnacle of sport. 

You can read about Big Star here.  Kudos to a masterful team.  What a way to top off an already illustrious career!

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