Sir Mark Todd announces retirement

Must See 29/07/2019

New Zealand equestrian great Sir Mark Todd has announced his retirement, with immediate effect.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist Los Angeles (1984) and Seoul (1988) made his announcement at the Camphire International Horse Trials in Ireland, going out on a high as part of the New Zealand team to win the Nations' Cup at the event.

Sir Mark said he planned to compete until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but admits the fire had gone out in his belly.

"I had been thinking about it for some time," said Sir Mark, who will now turn his focus back to racing. He currently has 10 horses, and wants to crack the UK racing scene.

"The opportunity came up at the end of last year with the racing, and I can't keep going [with eventing] forever. I had initially thought I may stay on for one more Olympic Games, but since I got back into the racing my attention has been taken away from the eventing, and I was finding it harder and harder to focus on the eventing.

"It is not just about the competition, and unless you are 110 percent focused and driven towards that goal, you won't succeed... and I certainly wasn't. 

"In fairness to the owners, horses and others hoping to get on the team, this was the best thing. I have been here once before, but there will be no comeback this time."

On top of his two Olympic golds, the 63-year-old has also won the Badminton Horse Trials on four occasions and the Burghley Horse Trials five times. 

Equestrian Sports New Zealand chief executive Dana Kirkpatrick has paid tribute to Sir Mark.

"No one has given more to equestrian sport than Sir Mark, and the legacy he leaves is an inspiration to not just equestrians but to all New Zealanders. No one will ever forget where it all started with Charisma... and to remain at the top of the sport for so long is extraordinary."