An Example of Passion and Perseverance
Thirty-six years after his first participation in the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972, Canada’s Ian Millar became a silver medallist in team show jumping. In the saddle on In Style, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, he did three magnificent circuits at the Sha Tin hippodrome in Hong Kong.
For the outstanding horseman, this Olympic reward is finally being added to an already impressive list of titles. For example, with his legendary chestnut Big Ben, he was the first to win two consecutive World Cup show jumping finals in 1988 and 1989.
Aged 61, he is the oldest medallist of the Beijing Games, without actually being the oldest to take part in the equestrian events. Indeed, this honour goes to Hiroshi Hoketsu, a Japanese dressage rider of 67 years.
With nine Olympiads under his belt, Millar also holds the same Games participation record as Austrian sailor Hubert Raudaschl. This is not counting his selection for the Olympic Games in Moscow, in which he could not participate owing to the boycott.
In spite of the years and the succession of Olympic Games, Ian Millar’s passion and enthusiasm remains intact. Remembering his first Games participation with Shoeman, he recalls: “He looked around that big stadium and stopped dead in his tracks. I could feel his heart beating against my legs.” You can be sure that the horse rider’s heart was also beating hard in Munich – and even more so in the Beijing Games.