Not all eyes will be turned on 71-year-old Hiroshi Hoketsu in the 2012 Summer London Olympics, as he will put his 15-year-old mare Whisper through her paces for a medal in Dressage.
Already in the 2008 Games in Beijing, the then 67-year-old Japanese rider was the oldest contender in this equestrian sport. Yet, he was no novice at the Olympics; he has been competing since 1964 when Japan once again took her place in sponsoring the summer Olympic games after being banned for its role in world war two.
“Last Summer, I thought it would be impossible to make London, so it fills me with deep emotions,” Hoketsu said when he locked in a place in the summer games.
Some might seen in him the great white hope of old, in an age when baby boomers are entering their golden years. But win or lose, Hoketsu has the distinction of being the oldest Japanese athlete to participate in any event.
Still more, Dressage is the kind of Olympic sport that is comes closest in spirit to the annual Westminster Dog Show in its appeal.
Nonetheless, the eyes of the British who are famously known for their passion for dressage from the Royals to the wealthy horsey set, will be watching Hoketsu with interest.