Nick Skelton

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Nick Skelton
CBE
Nick Skelton - Our Greatest Team Parade.jpg
Personal information
Full name Nicholas David Skelton
Nationality British
Discipline Show jumping
Born (1957-12-30) 30 December 1957 (age 59)
Bedworth, Warwickshire, England

Nicholas David Skelton, CBE (born 30 December 1957, Bedworth, Warwickshire) is a British equestrian who competes in show jumping. He began riding at age 18 months and in 1975 took two team silvers and an individual gold at the Junior European Championships. He has competed numerous times at the European Show Jumping Championships, winning three golds, three silvers and three bronzes both individually and with the British team over a 26-year time period. In 1980 he competed in the Alternative Olympics where he helped the British team to a silver medal. He currently holds the British Show Jumping High Jump record, which he set in 1978.

In 2012, at the age of 54, Skelton won the Olympic gold medal as part of the winning Great Britain team. In 2016, at the age of 58, Skelton won the Individual Olympic gold medal at his seventh Olympic Games.[1]

Education[edit]

Skelton was educated at Bablake School in the city of Coventry in Central England.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Nick Skelton began riding aged 18 months when he got his first pony, a Welsh Mountain called Oxo who was born in the same year as Skelton and lived to be 39; both Skelton's children learnt to ride on Oxo.[3] Skelton rode in pony classes with little tuition before taking his pony to Ted and Liz Edgar for help when he was 14. He worked for and helped at The Edgars for two years before leaving school with no qualifications to work full-time for them. Skelton had plenty of early success with a horse called Maybe, but he went lame just before the Junior European Championships in 1975 and his place in the team looked lost, however O.K a reputedly ordinary horse substituted and Skelton won individual gold. After this Skelton began riding more of the Edgar horses, and in 1978 jumped just over 7 foot 7 inches to set a new British record at Olympia with Lastic. When Skelton partnered with St James the following year he broke into the senior GB team, of which he has been an integral part ever since.

In 1985 Skelton split from the Edgars and went on his own; his main horse at the time, Apollo, went with him and together they formed a partnership that won nearly all the top prizes in the sport, as well as many Championship medals.[citation needed] After Apollo, Skelton competed at the top level with many different horses before he teamed up with Dollar Girl in 1992 with the specific target of competing at the Barcelona Olympics. Despite the Olympics going badly for them, Skelton and Dollar Girl ultimately won the coveted World Cup Final in Gothenburg in 1995.

Skelton broke his neck in September 2000 which could have ended his show jumping career, but after retiring in 2001 he recovered and began competing again in 2002. Skelton returned to the saddle to partner Arko III, a horse he had been riding as a youngster before breaking his neck. Together Skelton and Arko won the British Open title in 2004 at the British Open Show Jumping Championships and many other top prizes. Their most disappointing moment came at the Athens Olympics in 2004 where they were leading until the final round.

After Arko retired Skelton revisited an old friend and owner for support and new horses, Gary and Beverley Widdowson now own his competition horses that include Carlo 273, his European Individual Bronze medal partner, Big Star and Unique.[4]

He has written an autobiography, Only Falls And Horses,[5] and will soon[when?] publish an updated version.[citation needed]

He has two sons with his first wife Sarah Skelton (née Edwards) and both are active in horse racing.[6] Daniel is a National Hunt Trainer and Harry is a National Hunt Jockey who in 2009 became the youngest winner of The Irish Grand National on Niche Market.

He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to equestrian sport.[7][8]

Following his Olympic 2012 gold medal the post boxes in both Alcester, where he resides, and in Bedworth, where he was born, were painted gold in his honour.[9]

Skelton won gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics in the individual category. In doing so he became the oldest British Olympic gold medallist since 1908.[10] Following Skelton's success at the 2016 Rio Olympics, rail operator London Midland honoured him with a gold painted sign at Bedworth railway station.[11] Skelton received a nomination for the 2016 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award. He received 109,197 votes, placing him third.[12] He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to equestrianism.[13]

Major achievements[edit]

Nick Skelton with Carlo, 2012 CSI 5* Hamburg
Nick Skelton with Arko

Skelton has had many successes at home and abroad and has ridden on over 164 Nations Cups teams (1978–2011).[citation needed] He has won various medals both as an Individual and as part of the teams in the Olympics, World Championships and European Championships between 1980 and 2016.

  • Olympic Games
    • 2012: London. Team Gold medal with Big Star
    • 2016: Rio. Individual Gold medal with Big Star
  • Alternative Olympic Games
    • 1980: Rotterdam. Team Silver medal with Maybe
  • World championships
    • 1982: Dublin. Team Bronze medal with If Ever
    • 1986: Aachen. Team Silver medal and individual Bronze medal with Apollo
    • 1990: Stockholm. Team Bronze medal with Grand Slam
    • 1998: Rome. Team Bronze medal with Hopes are High
  • European Championships
    • 1985: Dinard. Team Gold medal and individual 4th with St. James
    • 1987: St. Gallen. Team Gold medal and Individual Bronze medal with Apollo
    • 1989: Rotterdam. Team Gold medal with Apollo
    • 1991: La Baule. Team Silver medal with Phoenix Park
    • 1993: Gijon. Team Silver medal with Dollar Girl
    • 1995: St. Gallen. Team Silver medal with Dollar Girl
    • 2011: Madrid. Team Bronze and individual Bronze medal with Carlo 273
  • Junior European Championships
    • 1974: Lucerne. Team Silver medal with Maybe
    • 1975: Dornbirn. Team Silver medal and individual Gold medal with O.K.
  • Volvo World Cup Final
  • Hickstead Derby
    • 1987: Winner with J Nick
    • 1988: Winner with Apollo
    • 1989: Winner with Apollo
  • King George V Gold Cup
    • 1984: Winner with St. James
    • 1993: Winner with Limited Edition
    • 1996: Winner with Cathleen III
    • 1999: Winner with Hopes are High

Skelton currently holds the British Show Jumping High Jump record, at 7 ft 7in 5/16th (2.32m) set at Olympia in 1978 with Lastic.

Horses[edit]

Nick Skelton & Arko III, Dublin 2008

Top horses that Skelton has ridden include Maybe, If Ever, Apollo, St. James, Major Wager, Top Gun, Grand Slam, Phoenix Park, Dollar Girl, Limited Edition, Showtime, Tinka’s Boy, Hopes are High, Russel and Arko III.

Skelton's current top flight horses are Big Star, Carlo 273 and Unique, all of which are owned by Beverley Widdowson.

Skelton won team Gold at his home Olympics in London 2012 with his horse Big Star, alongside Ben Maher, Peter Charles and Scott Brash.

Career statistics[edit]

Individual wins[edit]

Year Location Class Horse
2016 Brazil Rio. Brazil 2016 Olympics Big Star
2012 Germany Hamburg, Germany GCT Grand Prix Big Star
France La Baule, France Grand Prix Carlo 273
Belgium Antwerp, Belgium Grand Prix Big Star
United States Palm Beach, USA Grand Prix Big Star
2011 Switzerland St Gallen, Switzerland Grand Prix Carlo 273
2008 Canada CSIO Spruce Meadows 'Masters' Tournament, Spruce Meadows, Canada CN International Grand Prix Arko III
Belgium Grobbendonk, Belgium Grand Prix Arko
2007 Portugal Estoril, Portugal Global Champions Tour Grand Prix Arko
2006 Switzerland Lucerne, Switzerland Grand Prix Arko
Italy Rome, Italy Grand Prix Arko
2005 Germany Leipzig, Germany World Cup Qualifier Arko
Canada Spruce Meadows, Canada Grand Prix Arko
2004 United Kingdom Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead, Great Britain Grand Prix Russell
United Kingdom British Open Show Jumping Championships, Sheffield, Great Britain The British Open Arko
United Kingdom Royal Windsor, Great Britain Grand Prix Russell
2003 Netherlands Leeuwarden, The Netherlands Grand Prix Arko
2002 Portugal Portimao, Portugal Grand Prix Arko
Portugal Lizerias, Portugal Grand Prix Arko
2000 United Kingdom Royal Windsor, Great Britain Grand Prix Jalisco
1999 United Kingdom Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead, Great Britain King George V Gold Cup Hopes Are High
1998 Spain Madrid, Spain Grand Prix Showtime
Spain Gijon, Spain Grand Prix Hopes Are High
Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Grand Prix Hope Are High
Canada CSIO Spruce Meadows 'Masters' Tournament, Spruce Meadows, Canada Du Maurier Grand Prix Hopes Are High
Netherlands Leeuwarden, The Netherlands Grand Prix Zalza
1997 Portugal Lisbon, Portugal Grand Prix Showtime
United Kingdom Horse of the Year Show, Great Britain Grand Prix Showtime
1996 France Bordeaux, France World Cup Qualifier Dollar Girl
United Kingdom Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead, Great Britain King George V Gold Cup Cathleen III
Italy Moorsele, Italy Grand Prix Dollar Girl
Spain Madrid, Spain Grand Prix Showtime
Spain Gijon, Spain Grand Prix Dollar Girl
United Kingdom Olympia, Great Britain Masters Zalza
1995 Sweden Gothenburg, Sweden World Cup Final Dollar Girl
Spain Barcelona, Spain Grand Prix Showtime
Italy San Marino, Italy Grand Prix Showtime
United Kingdom Horse of the Year Show, Great Britain Grand Prix Showtime
Denmark Aarhus, Denmark Masters Dollar Girl
Germany Stuttgart, Germany Grand Prix Dollar Girl
1994 Republic of Ireland Millstreet, Ireland World Cup Qualifier Dollar Girl
1993 France Paris, France Grand Prix Major Wager
France Paris, France World Cup Qualifier Major Wager
Sweden Gothenburg, Sweden Grand Prix Major Wager
United Kingdom Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead, Great Britain King George V Gold Cup Limited Edition
Switzerland St Gallen, Switzerland Grand Prix Dollar Girl
United Kingdom Horse of the Year Show, Great Britain Everest Final Showtime
Switzerland Ascona, Switzerland Grand Prix Dollar Girl
Canada CSIO Spruce Meadows 'Masters' Tournament, Spruce Meadows, Canada Du Maurier Grand Prix Dollar Girl
1992 Belgium Genk, Belgium Grand Prix Major Wager
Sweden Gothenburg, Sweden Grand Prix Major Wager
Netherlands Amsterdam, The Netherlands Masters Limited Edition
1991 United Kingdom Horse of the Year Show, Great Britain Leading Showjumper Of The Year Phoenix Park
United Kingdom Horse of the Year Show, Great Britain Masters Phoenix Park
Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Grand Prix Phoenix Park
1990 Austria Kossen, Austria Grand Prix Fiorella
Italy Cortina, Italy Grand Prix Fiorella
Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Grand Prix Phoenix Park
Germany Dortmund, Germany Grand Prix Top Gun
United Kingdom Horse of the Year Show, Great Britain Grand Prix Grand Slam
1989 United Kingdom Hickstead, Great Britain Hickstead Derby Apollo
1988 United Kingdom Hickstead, Great Britain Hickstead Derby Apollo
Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Grand Prix Apollo
Germany Aachen, Germany Grand Prix Apollo
1987 United Kingdom Hickstead, Great Britain Hickstead Derby J Nick
Germany Aachen, Germany Grand Prix Apollo
1985 Belgium Antwerp, Belgium World Cup Qualifier St James
Canada CSIO Spruce Meadows 'Masters' Tournament, Spruce Meadows, Canada Du Maurier Grand Prix St James
Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Grand Prix Apollo
Canada Toronto, Canada World Cup Qualifier Apollo
United States New York City, USA World Cup Qualifier Apollo
1984 United Kingdom Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead, Great Britain King George V Gold Cup St James
1983 Canada Toronto, Canada World Cup Qualifier St James
United Kingdom Olympia, Great Britain World Cup Qualifier St James
Germany Aachen, Germany Grand Prix If Ever
1979 Switzerland Geneva, Switzerland World Cup Qualifier Lastic
1978 United Kingdom Horse of the Year Show, Great Britain Leading Showjumper Of The Year Maybe

Nation's Cup wins[edit]

Year Location Horse
2011 Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Carlo 273
2008 Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Arko III
2005 Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Arko III
2005 Italy Rome, Italy Arko III
2004 United Kingdom Hickstead, Great Britain Russell
2003 United Kingdom Hickstead, Great Britain Arko III
1997 Italy Modena, Italy Showtime
1997 United Kingdom Royal Windsor, Great Britain Showtime
1997 Spain Gijon, Spain Tinka's Boy
1996 Portugal Lisbon, Portugal Cathleen III
1996 Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Dollar Girl
1996 Canada Calgary, Canada Showtime
1993 United Kingdom Hickstead, Great Britain Limited Edition
1992 United Kingdom Hickstead, Great Britain Limited Edition
1992 Canada Calgary, Canada Dollar Girl
1991 Canada Calgary, Canada Phoenix Park
1991 Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Phoenix Park
1991 Italy Rome, Italy Apollo II
1991 Luxembourg Luxembourg, Luxembourg Phoenix Park
1990 Italy Rome, Italy Grand Slam
1990 Canada Calgary, Canada Grand Slam
1990 Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Phoenix Park
1990 United States New York City, USA Grand Slam
1989 Luxembourg Luxembourg, Luxembourg Serenade
1989 Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Grand Slam
1989 Canada Calgary, Canada Grand Slam
1989 Switzerland St Gallen, Switzerland Apollo
1988 Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Apollo
1988 Italy Rome, Italy Apollo
1987 Spain Gijon, Spain Airbourne
1986 Spain Jerez, Spain Apollo
1986 Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Apollo
1986 Canada Toronto, Canada Apollo
1986 United States Washington, USA Apollo
1986 Netherlands Rotterdam, The Netherlands Airbourne
1985 Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Apollo
1985 United Kingdom Hickstead, Great Britain Apollo
1985 Canada Calgary, Canada Apollo
1984 France Paris, France St James
1984 Belgium Liege, Belgium Apollo
1983 France Paris, France St James
1982 Switzerland Lucerne, Switzerland If Ever
1981 Germany Aachen, Germany Maybe
1979 Netherlands Zuidlaren, The Netherlands Maybe

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rio Olympics 2016: GB's Nick Skelton wins show jumping gold". www.bbc.co.uk. BBC. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2016. 
  2. ^ "Former Pupil's 7th Olympic Bid". www.bablake.com. Bablake School. 22 July 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2016. 
  3. ^ Jonathan Powell (3 January 2009). "Nick Skelton: I've been in six Olympics but watching my son ride a winner beats all that". www.dailymail.co.uk. Daily Mail. Retrieved 19 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "Home page of Nick Skelton's website". www.nickskelton.com. Retrieved 19 August 2016. 
  5. ^ Skelton, Nick (2001). Nick Skelton: My Autobiography – Only Falls and Horses. Greenwater Publishing. ISBN 978-1903267059. 
  6. ^ Eleanore Kelly (30 July 2016). "Nick Skelton banking on Olympic gold as his last hurrah ... with veteran showjumper taking inspiration from the racing successes of his two sons". www.dailymail.co.uk. Daily Mail. Retrieved 19 August 2016. 
  7. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60173. p. 12. 16 June 2012.
  8. ^ Nick Skelton awarded OBE, Victoria Spicer / horseandcountry.tv, 16 June 2012
  9. ^ "Skelton's golden honour in home town of Alcester". www.bbc.co.uk. BBC. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2014. 
  10. ^ "GB's Nick Skelton wins show jumping gold". BBC Sport. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2016. 
  11. ^ "Golden sign in Bedworth to celebrate show jumper's Olympic achievement". Nuneaton News. Local World. 5 September 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  12. ^ "BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016: Andy Murray wins for a record third time". BBC Sport. 18 December 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  13. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 61803. p. N9. 31 December 2016.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Skelton, N. (2001) Only Falls and Horses. Greenwater.

External links[edit]