No Horsing Around: Hoketsu Becomes the London 2012 Games Oldest Olympian


Posted by Kia Crawford on August 3rd, 2012 in Education | No Comments

I am sure I’m not the only one deeply enthralled in the London 2012 Olympics right now. In this week alone, records have been broken and “firsts” have been established. Micheal Phelps is the first to win 20 gold medals and Gabby Douglas, 16,  is the first African American to win gold in the gymnastics All -Around. There has been plenty of exciting moments, and there is still another week remaining before the closing ceremony. Many of our residents at Dogwood Forest Assisted Living in Fayetteville, Ga are also enjoying the Olympics.

During my research of the London games, I stumbled across an interesting article from the Chicago Sun-Times about Hiroshi Hoketsu of Japan. At the age of 71, he is the oldest competitor in the London Olympic Games and the second oldest competitor in Olympic games history only topped by 72 year old Oscar Swahn who won a silver medal in the 1920 Olympic games. Horoshi Hoketsu and his 15 year old mare, Whisper, placed towards the middle of the pack among the 25 competitors  in equestrian dressage, which is sort of like horse gymnastics, if you will. This is Hoketsu’s third Olympics. After taking a 38 year hiatus from competition to focus on his education from Duke University and a  successful business career in Japan, Hoketsu decided to compete once more. According to the Chicago Sun-Times article, Hoketsu still rose at 5 a.m. each morning during his 38 year break from competition to ride before work. He said that he would like to participate in the 2012 Rio games, but says his horse will be too old.

This article from the Chicago Sun Times about Hiroshi Hoketsu, put 2 things into perspective for me:

  1. You are never too old for anything.
  2. Age is truly just a number.

Hoketsu is 71 years old and is participating in the Olympics with people who are still in adolescents. Some people are apprehensive about aging. Strangely, they associate aging with not living. But, I have always associated age with long life, blessings,  and an opportunity for more experiences. When asked by The Guardian why he continues to compete, Hoketsu said, ” ‘Probably the biggest motivation for me [is to] feel I’m improving,” he said. “I think if I feel, ‘OK, I’m getting worse than before,’ I will stop.’ ”  Aging should not define who we are or what we can do because it is clear from Hoketsu response that we never stop growing and improving.