Mrs 6000 keeps chucking random Olympics questions at me, pub quiz style.
Many of these I can answer straight off:
“Gold medals are only 1.34% gold”
“Because he swam faster than the other bloke”
“Red at the top”, and
“That’s the Queen” etc etc.
Then last night, she popped the old “Who’s the oldest competitor at the 2012 Olympics?” one at me.
Fortunately, I was able to consult Dave Google and quickly come up with the answer:
Hiroshi Hoketsu, who will represent Japan in the equestrian discipline of dressage at the age of 71 is the oldest competitor in the London 2012 Olympics.
He’s 71. Seventy one. Imagine what the 71 year olds you know are doing during the Olympics. Knitting? Visiting the doctor? Hell, if they can walk unaided to the shops, they’re doing ok.
And his story is amazing. He hasn’t seen Motoko, his wife, for over a year, because he lives and trains in Germany and she lives back in Japan.
It is difficult to be away from home for this long as an old man and I owe everything to her patience and understanding.
But this isn’t his first Olympics – it’s his third. His first, incredibly, was in Tokyo back in 1964 – a full 48 years ago. That, in case you are numerically challenged, is the same as SA swimmer Chad le Clos still competing in the 2060 Olympics. Wor Chad would be 68 by then, so still not quite matching Hoketsu’s age.
This will probably be Hoketsu’s last Olympics:
My wife would like for this to be my last year of competition and that will probably be the case. But I still feel my riding is improving, little by little. That is my motivation. I am a better rider at 70 than I was at 40. Most people can’t tell but my body is getting a little weaker. My horse knows it and she helps me.
But if he did make it to Rio in 2016, he would beat the record of Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn, who won bronze at the age of 72 at the 1920 Antwerp Games.
I know that a 75 year old competing in the Olympics seems a little far-fetched, but if you’d asked me yesterday, I’d have said the same about a 71 year old.