The Road to London:
In a sport that requires brains over brawn, Hiroshi Hoketsu brings perfectionist skills and a life time of experience. At the age of 70, when many equestrians are thinking of riding a horse that's quieter and less demanding, Hiroshi Hoketsu is thinking bigger — Olympic success in dressage
. At 67 Hoketsu is not the oldest Olympic competitor. That record belongs to shooter
, Oscar Swahn, who competed in the 1920 Olympics, just shy of his 73rd birthday. Hoketsu made his first Olympic appearance in 1964 placing 40th in show jumping
and competed at the Beijing Olymics. This time, he plans to better that rank.
Hoketsu has been training intensively since leaving his job as company director for Johnson & Johnson five years ago. While he has not vied for an Olympic spot since 1964, he has remained competitive, qualifying for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, competing in Beijing and garnering several Japanese national championships. He trains with a German coach and was the first Japanese to win a CDI3* (International Dressage Event or concours de dressage international level 3) dressage competition.
What to Look For:
Look for Hoketsu's work ethic and perfectionism to pay off. A rigorous exercise routine, the support of his wife Motoko and a generous horse has kept his Olympic dream alive. He may not make it to the podium, but this is about personal success.
Hoketsu, who will ride a chestnut mare
named Whisper 115 who he also rode in Beijing, has been riding since he was 12. He rode in his first Olympics at age 23.