Nick Skelton's 54 year wait for Gold
Twelve years after retiring with a broken neck, Great Britain's veteran show jumper Nick Skelton, who will be 55 this year, won his first-ever Olympic medal – and it was a gold one.
The dramatic victory in a sudden-death "jump-off" with Dutch riders was the first time Britain has topped the showjumping podium since 1952 – the same decade that half its team were born.
Over at Greenwich Royal Observatory, where a crowd of 23,000 watched the final of the team competition unfold in escalating tension, Skelton said he was more nervous watching his team-mates than he had been riding himself. The four-man team of Skelton, Peter Charles, 52, who has also previously broken his neck, Ben Maher, 29, and Scott Brash, 26, were not expected to win the gold, but confidence in the team rose in the final few days before the competition.
"My hip's great," said Skeleton, "It's my back that's the problem now. I've got to have it operated on next year.
"I said just get stuck in, it's a jump-off, let's go and win this. I've waited 54 years for this, it's been a long time coming. I've had a few misses in my time, and finally got there." It is the crowning glory of a long career for Skelton, which he thought was over when he broke his neck falling off a horse in 2000. He retired, but came back a year later.