As the Olympics approach, the fairy-tale stories are emerging, and–thanks to them–the public will have underdog favorites to cheer and journalists will have plenty of stories to write. It happens every time.
This year, we have the Russian circus horse in dressage, and the comeback of gold medal old-timer Mark Todd in eventing. Some of the people competing against Todd weren’t even born when he started winning medals.
But there’s an even more colorful comeback story than Todd’s. Look to Japan, not usually known as a dressage powerhouse nation, and meet Hiroshi Hoketsu. The last time you saw him was in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, if you were alive then.
Fifty-four years later, Hoketsu name shows up in the world standings for dressage, and he’s out to set a new world record. No, he probably won’t outscore Anky and Isabel, but if his horse stays sound/healthy and he makes it to Hong Kong, he will likely be the oldest Olympic competitor.
Hiroshi Hoketsu is profiled today in an unlikely place: the Wall Street Journal! The venerable financial daily also sent a video crew out to meet him.
According to the WSJ, Hoketsu was disqualified from the 1988 Olympics in Seoul when his horse became ill in quarantine.
Read the article; watch the video (below). It’s time to start choosing your favorites for the Olympics…not just the ones who will medal, but the ones who will make it there, after a lot of hard work.
They’re the ones who will be riding out the dreams of people like you and me.