The London 2012 Olympic medalist on his stunning comeback.
Mark Todd's eventing career is the stuff of legends and encompasses one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time.
When he 'retired' from competing in eventing in 2000, he had already been named 'Rider of the Century' for his natural empathy with a horse and his extraordinary success, which included back-to-back Olympic gold medals, five Burghley wins and three Badminton victories. He has also show jumped to Olympic level and trained winners on the racecourse. Considered a legendary horseman by his peers, he seemed to have done it all.
He returned to train racehorses in his native New Zealand but, eight years later, the idea of a comeback took root, part dare, part personal challenge to see if he could still cut it in a changed sport. Within eight months, he was riding at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and in 2011 he hit the headlines by becoming the oldest rider to win Badminton. This was soon eclipsed by his stunning win at the London 2012 Olympics, however.
The story of his progress from dairy farmer to world renown, is told with typically laid-back humour, but it reveals the fierce determination, discipline and personal sacrifice which lies behind the relaxed outlook.
Mark Todd, CBE, is the only rider since 1932 to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in eventing, which he achieved in 1984 and 1988 on his best-loved horse, Charisma. In 2008, he returned to the top of the sport after an eight-year break, competing at his fifth Olympic Games, in Beijing, winning a team bronze medal for New Zealand at the World Equestrian Games in 2010 and Badminton on Land Vision in 2011. He then went on to win a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics. He is now based back in England, in Berkshire. Kate Green, who worked with Mark on this book, has been closely involved with the sport for more than 20 years, reporting the last four Olympic Games and many major championships. She also worked on the autobiographies of Pippa Funnell and Mary King. She works as managing editor of COUNTRY LIFE.