Hong Kong 7th August
Laurie Lever may be the oldest member of the Australian team and the oldest Olympic debutant at Beijing, but at 60 years young he is not the oldest Equestrian competitor in Hong Kong for the 2008 Olympics. The popular Aussie competitor has been riding for half a century. He started when he was 10 years old, but has only now found what he calls ''the horse of his life" – Ashleigh Drossel Dan who was bred by the Ashleigh Warmblood Stud in Victoria which is headed by Colin and Judy Gronn.
There are three riders aged 60 and over are competing at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Canadian rider Ian Millar will break several records before mounting his horse for these Olympics. The 6l-year-old is the oldest show- jumper in Olympic history, breaking his own record set in Athens 2004. Riding into his ninth Olympics, Ian Millar now also holds the record for the most Olympic appearances in Equestrian sport.
Nicknamed ''Captain Canada" Millar has more Olympic appearances than any other Canadian athlete. He has been named in every Canadian Olympic Team since 1972. Although he has never stood on the Olympic podium, he has won more Pan American Games than any other Equestrian athlete, with nine medals to his credit.
However, he is still not the oldest'. The rider who dubs himself “the hope of old men”, dressage competitor, Hiroshi Hoketsu from Japan is the oldest rider at the Games at 67-years-old. He is also Japan's oldest competitor at these games. Forty-four years ago, Hoketsu took part in the show jumping events at 1964 Tokyo Olympics where, at the age of 22 he finished 40th.
He qualified for the dressage competition at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but unfortunately had to withdraw due to quarantine problems with his horse. The oldest equestrian Olympian ever was Austrian dressage rider Arthur von Pongracz, who competed at the 1936 Berlin Games at the age of 72.
© Cyberhorse 2008 Toni-Anne Collins