70 Year Old Japanese Man Preps for Olympic Games
Hiroshi Hoketsu, a 70-year-old equestrian, has qualified for the 2012 London Summer Olympics. This will be the third Olympic games for Hoketsu, who will turn 71 at the end of March.
Hoketsu first appeared in the 1964 Olympic games, when he was 23 years old. His second appearance came in 2008, where he came away with a 9th place finish in the Dressage Team Grand Prix. Hoketsu did not medal in either games.
This year, Hoketsu qualified for Individual Dressage, commonly referred to as horse ballet. According to the Olympics website, Dressage events "will test the ability of horse and rider to display both athletic prowess and supreme elegance."
Hoketsu also qualified for the 1988 games, but was unable to participate because his horse was quarantined.
Hoketsu told Japan's news network that he is feeling as fit as ever as he prepares for the 2012 games, and that he hopes to ride Whisper, his horse of 15 years.
Between Olympic appearances, Hoketsu once served as company director for Johnson and Johnson.
Despite the impressive accomplishment of qualifying for the games by the septuagenarian, Hoketsu will not be the oldest Olympian on record. That title goes to Oscar Swahn, a Swedish shooter, who was 72 when he participated in the 1920 Olympic games. Should Hoketsu consider and qualify for a return in four more years, he would break the record.
The youngest Olympian ever to participate was a Greek gymnast named Dimitrios Loundras, who won a bronze medal for the team parallel bars at age 10 years, 218 days.
Loundras would not have qualified for the current games, which require gymnasts to turn 16 in the games' calendar year.
There are no upper age restrictions set by the International Olympic Committee. Per the site: "There may be no age limit for competitors in the Olympic Games other than as prescribed in the competition rules of and IF as approved by the IOC Executive Board."
Two sports of note, however, do set age limits, including gymnastics, with the 16-year-old minimum age, and soccer, with a 23-year-old maximum age.
(Image Source: FirstPost )