Hiroshi Hoketsu, 71, oldest Olympic athlete in London 2012, says his age is never a problem

By on Aug 3, 2012 in Amazing, Europe, Sports Comments

Hiroshi Hoketsu, a Japanese Dressage rider at the age of 71, is the oldest Olympic athlete in the ongoing London Olympics 2012. He says that his old age is a never a problem, noting that it is his horse that prevents him from competing well.

Hiroshi Hoketsu and his horse ‘Whisper’,
while competing at 2008 Summer Olympics

Image Credit: Getty Images

According to the official website of the London Olympics on Thursday, August 2, 2012, Hiroshi Hoketsu competed in the equestrian dressage competition at Greenwich Park that day, 48 years after his Olympic Games debut.

As noted in the report, Hoketsu, who landed 40th in show jumping in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, scored 68.73 penalties on his horse Whisper as it cantered into the ring in front of a capacity 23,000 crowd; and eventually out of medal contention.

“The biggest motivation for me is to keep feeling that I am improving. If I feel I am getting worse than before, then I will stop.” Hoketsu was quoted at London2012.com, noting that he may not be able to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“I want to go to Brazil, but I don’t think I can. It will be difficult to find a horse for Rio de Janeiro. My present horse is too old for that.” Hoketsu added, who was also qualified for the 1988 Summer Olympics, but was unable to compete because his horse was quarantined.

Hoketsu, born on March 28, 1941, finished 9th in the Dressage Team Grand Prix and 35th in the Dressage Individual Grand Prix during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. He is the second to the oldest Olympic athlete in history, after Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn, who competed in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Belgium at the age of 72.

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