Age no barrier for Olympic glory
Hiroshi Hoketsu after competing with his horse Whisper in the equestrian dressage. Picture: AP

The challenge at the Olympics is to find the story that’s a little off-beat. And they are here in London, it’s just a matter of finding them.

The hardy annual, or quad-annual in regards to the Olympics, surrounds age.

And it doesn’t particularly matter whether it’s a pimple-faced gymnast or some old coot at the shooting range or somewhere else, they make the Games go round.

Enter Japan’s Hiroshi Hoketsu, the oldest man at the London Games at the ripe old age of 71. The dressage rider will probably never win a medal but he’s still going strong after first competing at his home Olympics in 1964.

The inscrutable Mr Hoketsu needs to get to the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016 to become the oldest Olympian. He was the oldest in Beijing as well but the record is held by Sweden’s Oscar Swahn who was 72 when he won shooting silver in 1920 in Antwerp.

On the other side of the age barrier, there are always young athletes who grab the attention of the media.

Australia has some good ones. Jessica Fox, 18, did it in the K1 slaloms, winning silver, but watch out for another on different water altogether. Olivia Price turned 20 this week but nobody has been able to hold a candle to her in the match racing off Portland.

In the first 10 races, Price and her crew of Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty have beaten all comers, not losing one race in the round robin series.

There are more prominent Australian sailors at the Games, but the all-blonde crew now shape as a gold medal prospect after the failure of some of Australia’s favourites to deliver in London.

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