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Nick Skelton’s illustrious competition record speaks for itself — two Olympic gold medals, three Hickstead Derby wins and nearly 200 team appearances are just the tip of an immense iceberg.

He has spearheaded the sport of showjumping for well over 40 years and a massive void now remains where this hugely talented horseman once stood. So what made Nick brilliant? What gave him that winning edge? His friends, family and fellow riders share their thoughts — and reveal why Nick’s greatest legacy may be to have inspired so many people along the way.

Nick Skelton and Big Star soaring to Olympic gold in Rio 2016 — the first British showjumper to win the individual title

Riding Airbourne to land the Lincolnshire Area Trial in 1986

Nick won the Hickstead Derby three times in a row — twice on the mighty Apollo

Flying into the bronze medal position at the 2011 European Championships in Madrid riding Carlo 273

Breaking the British high jump record at Olympia in 1978 riding Lastic

Topping the podium at the London Olympics in 2012 alongside Ben Maher, Scott Brash and Peter Charles

Winning the first of four grands prix at Spruce Meadows, Canada, in 1985 on St James

Nick represented his country nearly 200 times

Riding Dollar Girl — one of Nick’s all-time favourites — at Olympia in 1995

Arko III — the horse that brought him out of retirement after his ‘hangman’s break’ in 2000

Another sensational victory — this time on Major Wager in Sweden in 1993

In 1980 on Maybe, his alternative Olympics silver medallist

Nick with Eric Lamaze, Canada’s Olympic bronze medallist in Rio

At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing riding Russel

You can read the full story with an exclusive interview and a poignant trip down memory lane in Horse & Hound’s special Nick Skelton souvenir tribute issue, out today (18 May 2017)