April 5, 2017 / 9:33 PM / 7 months ago

Olympic champion Skelton announces retirement

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Olympic show jumping double gold medallist Nick Skelton announced his retirement at the age of 59 on Wednesday, saying he was not getting any younger and it was good to go out at the top.

2016 Rio Olympics - Equestrian - Victory Ceremony - Jumping Individual Victory Ceremony - Olympic Equestrian Centre - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 19/08/2016. Gold medalist Nick Skelton (GBR) of Britain poses with his national flag in front of the Olympic rings. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

Skelton, a team gold medallist in London in 2012, won his first individual Olympic title with Big Star at last year’s Rio Games.

The oldest British gold medallist since 1908, he competed in seven Olympics despite being advised by his surgeon to give up riding after a fall in 2000 snapped vertebra in his neck in two places.

“It has come to a point, after months of thought and consideration, that myself and my partner Big Star have decided to retire from competition,” Skelton said on his website (www.nickskelton.com).

”We feel that Big Star has done everything that a rider could ask and it is time for him to relax and enjoy his stallion duties. As for myself, I have always stated that when Big Star was finished I would be as well.

“This sport has given me more than I could have ever hoped over the past 43 years and it is such a difficult decision to make, but I‘m not getting any younger and it is nice for the two of us to end on the highest note possible.”

Skelton and Big Star’s farewell appearance will be at the Royal Windsor Horse Show on May 14.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Neil Robinson

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