After a career that spanned four decades, top international showjumper Nick Skelton, who was crowned 2016 Olympic individual showjumping champion with his fantastic equine partner Big Star, has retired from the sport he loved.
Nick Skelton was a member of the gold medal-winning team at the London 2012 Olympics and added individual glory to his team gold while contesting his seventh official Olympics in Rio. He also attended the “alternative” Olympics in Rotterdam in 1980.
Nick rode many top horse during his career, although none can surpass his Rio champion Big Star, who made a successful return from injury to triumph in Rio. Nick often said when Big Star retired so would he, and he stuck by that decision when calling it a day for them both in April 2017.
Nick made a miraculous return to the sport in April 2002 after suffering what was believed to be a career-ending neck injury in 2000. He broke his C1 vertebra in two places and snapped a ligament which tore away a piece of his spine in a fall at a show in Cheshire. He had to spend months in a metal neck brace as a result and was advised by surgeons to give up riding or risk a fatal injury. After retiring from the sport in 2001, the following year he was told by a German specialist that the bones in his neck had healed beyond expectations so he returned to the saddle and competing at the top of the sport.
Nick holds the British record for jumping the highest fence when he cleared over 7’7” on Lastic in 1979. He has also won five World Championship medals and nine European Championship medals.