Kiwi dressage rider Julie Brougham will pip Mark Todd to the “elder statesman” record at this summer’s Olympics.
The New Zealand Olympic committee had said that Mark, 60, would become their most senior Olympian.
But it has been revealed that Julie, who will make her Olympic debut in Rio, edges him by “a year or so”.
“It’s an age old issue of whether you should ask a lady her age . . . well, in keeping with those manners it transpires Sir Mark Todd may not be the oldest in the New Zealand Olympic team after all,” said a statement from the organisation.
Julie, 62, will become the third New Zealander in the history of the Olympics to compete in the dressage.
She rides her own and her husband David’s Vom Feinsten, a 13-year-old chestnut gelding with whom she holds the Australasian grand prix freestyle record (76.3%).
“I had tried to keep my age on the down low, but hey, now I’m an Olympian I may as well embrace it,” she said.
“But really, I am the newbie in all of this. Mark has more Olympic experience that would be hard to match.
“I am happy to pass the mantle back as the one we should all take advice from and aspire to.”
The combination have also won numerous national titles and earlier this year made the long journey from their home in Manawatu, New Zealand, to Germany to prepare for the Games.
Mark added: “I did quite enjoy being the elder statesman of the team, but am happy to concede.”
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New Zealand Olympic team CEO Kereyn Smith said for the first time athlete numbers are swaying towards women.
“While Mark may still be our most capped Olympian, it’s great to see a female athlete take over the coveted ‘most senior’ spot,” she added.
“Gender balance is really having a positive impact within our team.”