Animals

Olympic show jumper Nick Skelton to retire

Nick Skelton and Big Star at the Nations Cup 2013. Photography by OndRond.

Top British show jumper Nick Skelton CBE has announced his retirement after four decades of competing.

The 59 year old rider has competed at seven Olympic games, winning gold twice.

He has also won nine European medals.

Skelton was forced into retirement previously, when he broke his neck in the year 2000, but recovered sufficiently to return to competition in 2002.

He is also retiring the stallion with whom he won his most recent Olympic gold medal, Big Star.

He said: ‘It is such a difficult decision to make, but I’m not getting any younger and it is nice for the two of us to end on the highest note possible.’

He added: ‘I have always stated that when Big Star was finished I would be as well.’

Skelton holds the British record for jumping the highest fence of 7ft 7inches (2.3 metres) with his horse Lastic in 1978.

He came third in the 2016 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award behind Andy Murray and Alistair Brownlee.

Skelton and Big Star will appear at Royal Windsor at the end of the month to commemorate his long and successful career.

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