ALCESTER’S Olympic gold medallist Nick Skelton arrived home to a hero’s welcome on Monday afternoon.
After winning Great Britain’s first individual gold in Olympic showjumping history in Rio last Friday, the 58-year-old returned to the sport’s headquarters in Meriden to meet colleagues and supporters for a champagne reception.
“Last weekend was a great one and I can’t thank people enough for their support,” said Skelton, whose victory on Big Star saw him become second oldest Olympic gold medallist in any sport.
“It makes you feel old! You can go on as long as you can, but you’ve got to have the right horse and I’ve been very lucky with Big Star. He’s an amazing horse.
“I think he’s probably the best horse I’ve ever ridden and I’ve had some very good ones.
“He’s super intelligent, he rises to the occasion and you can really put pressure on him to do it. A lot of horses, you put that sort of pressure on them and they don’t come through.”
Skelton and Big Star – his London 2012 team gold medal-winning ride – were among six combinations that jumped off against the clock after posting double clear rounds earlier in the day last Friday.
And Skelton, competing in his seventh Olympics, set a scorching pace of 42.82 seconds despite being first to go, that no other rider could match.
Full interview with Nick Skelton and more pictures in this week’s Herald.