Sir Mark Todd eyes ninth Olympics at Tokyo 2020

Sir Mark Todd of New Zealand riding Leonidas Ii at the Rio Olympics.
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Sir Mark Todd of New Zealand riding Leonidas Ii at the Rio Olympics.

New Zealand equestrian great Mark Todd hasn't ruled out having a shot at his ninth Olympics at Tokyo 2020.

The 61-year-old former gold medallist remains as competitive as ever, and this weekend will contest the Burghley Horse Trials.

He believes he has competitive horses and they are inspiring his longevity.

"Leonidas II is 13 ... in his prime ... and you're only as old as the horse you're riding. And I've actually got a really good young horse, too," Todd told The Telegraph newspaper in Britain where he is based.

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He suggested another Olympics campaign was a possibility after contesting seven as a rider and being coach at Athens 2004.

"I definitely want to go to the world championships next year in America. And then we'll see. It's only two years more after that, but two years when you're 62 or 63 … watch this space."

Todd retired after winning bronze at Sydney 2000 but was enticed back to ride at Beijing 2008 and has remained ever-present despite his age.

"I never thought I'd come back full time," he says. "It was just a bit of a dare to see if I could make it back to the Olympics in six months."

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There's also the little matter of making up for Rio where he uncharacteristically cost New Zealand a medal on the final day of showjumping in the team eventing.

Todd, New Zealand's most experienced Olympian and a holder of five medals, dropped four rails to see the Kiwi's tumble to fourth.

Riding third after Jonelle Price had dropped two rails and Clarke Johnstone had gone clear, Todd could afford one rail to give New Zealand gold and even three would have been enough to see the team match their London effort four years earlier and be third.

Todd says he's learned to act his age and brushes off his reputation as a bit of a party boy from years gone by.

"I don't know, maybe the young still do it. But I can't perform the next day if I've had too hard a night," he told The Telegraph.

"It was all much more amateur back then. I think most sports have got way more professional haven't they? And we have, too. I mean, we used to perform with hangovers most of the time. But now, it's just way more professional. And if you want to be competitive it does affect your judgment."

After the first day of dressage at Burghley, favourite Michael Jung leads after finishing with 38.9 penalties riding Sam FBW.

Tim Price (Xavier Faer) is the best-placed Kiwi in sixth place on 46.6 penalties with Andrew Nicholson (Qwanza) 12th with 49.6 and Caroline Powell (Spice Sensation) in 21st with 55.7 penalties.

 - Stuff

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