IT’S TALLY-HO ON BELTER SKELTER
TONY McCOY reckons 40-1 outsider Nick Skelton is the man to back for the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year award, even though he pre-dates the award and probably pre-dates the BBC.
Skelton (above) won gold at the age of 58 in his seventh Games – when you’re that old you don’t expect Games to end in gold, you expect them to end in shouts of ‘house.’
Skelton is a showjumper and that was enough for both Princess Anne and Zara Phillips to win the Beeb award, though Skelton lacks their rags-to-riches appeal.
He retired 16 years ago after breaking his neck in two places and vowed on his return to the saddle that he would never go to those places again.
Skelton helped GB to their greatest Olympic medals tally-ho and will surely be remembered come December by BBC voters, although at his age he probably won’t remember them.
He’s the oldest GB gold medal winner at an Olympics since Joshua Millner in 1908 at shooting (musket).
A few decades ago showjumping enjoyed huge popularity in Britain and the Horse Of The Year Show was always a ratings winner, particularly the year Princess Anne won SPOTY, but it has largely slipped from consciousness.
For Skelton, most things have. But he has now rekindled interest to such an extent that his out-of-print autobiography is fetching £75 a copy on Amazon – it’s as though in Rio he jumped the Amazon.
The book doesn’t have a dust-jacket, just a smoking jacket. At 40-1 he has to be in with a shout.