Open main menu

Nicholas David Skelton, CBE (born 30 December 1957, Bedworth, Warwickshire) is a British former equestrian who competed in show jumping. He retired at the age of 59 years old, on 5 April 2017. He began riding at age 18 months and in 1975 took two team silvers and an individual gold at the Junior European Championships.

Nick Skelton
CBE
Nick Skelton - Our Greatest Team Parade.jpg
Personal information
Full nameNicholas David Skelton
NationalityBritish
DisciplineShow jumping
Born (1957-12-30) 30 December 1957 (age 61)
Bedworth, Warwickshire, England

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]

EducationEdit

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

Life and careerEdit

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.[citation needed]

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 achievementsEdit

 
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.

HorsesEdit

 
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 statisticsEdit

Individual winsEdit

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

Nation's Cup winsEdit

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

International Championship ResultsEdit

Results
Year Event Horse Placing Notes
1975 European Junior Championships Everest OK   Team
  Individual
1979 World Cup Final Lastic 7th
1980 World Championships Maybe   Team
25th Individual
1981 World Cup Final Maybe / If Ever 14th
1982 World Cup Final Everest Carat 8th
1982 World Championships If Ever   Team
48th Individual
1983 World Cup Final If Ever 16th
1984 World Cup Final St. James 7th
1985 World Cup Final St. James  
1985 European Championships St. James   Team
4th Individual
1986 World Cup Final St. James 28th
1986 World Championships Apollo   Team
  Individual
1987 World Cup Final 12th
1987 European Championships Apollo   Team
  Individual
1988 World Cup Final J. Nick 26th
1988 Olympic Games Apollo 6th Team
7th Individual
1989 European Championships Apollo   Team
18th Individual
1990 World Cup Final Grand Slam 6th
1990 World Equestrian Games Grand Slam   Team
20th Individual
1991 World Cup Final Grand Slam 41st
1991 European Championships Phoenix Park   Team
17th Individual
1992 Olympic Games Dollar Girl 7th Team
70th Individual
1993 World Cup Final Major Wager 28th
1993 European Championships Dollar Girl   Team
16th Individual
1994 World Equestrian Games Dollar Girl 6th Team
22nd Individual
1995 World Cup Final Dollar Girl  
1996 World Cup Final Dollar Girl  
1996 Olympic Games Show Time 11th Team
23rd Individual
1997 World Cup Final Show Time 12th
1998 World Equestrian Games Hopes Are High   Team
27th Individual
1999 European Championships Hopes Are High 4th Team
24th Individual
2003 European Championships Arko III 9th Team
26th Individual
2004 Olympic Games Arko III 10th Individual
2005 World Cup Final Arko III 22nd
2005 European Championships Arko III 25th Individual
2006 World Equestrian Games Russel 9th Team
30th Individual
2008 Olympic Games Russel 5th Team
28th Individual
2011 European Championships Carlo 273   Team
  Individual
2012 Olympic Games Big Star   Team
5th Individual
2016 Olympic Games Big Star 12th Team
  Individual

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Rio Olympics 2016: GB's Nick Skelton wins show jumping gold". BBC News. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Former Pupil's 7th Olympic Bid". 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". Daily Mail. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Home page of Nick Skelton's website". 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". Daily Mail. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  7. ^ "No. 60173". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2012. p. 12.
  8. ^ Nick Skelton awarded OBE Archived 17 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Victoria Spicer / horseandcountry.tv, 16 June 2012
  9. ^ "Skelton's golden honour in home town of Alcester". BBC News. 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. Archived from the original on 6 September 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  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. ^ "No. 61803". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2016. p. N9.

BibliographyEdit

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

External linksEdit