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Mark Todd Secures Spot in NZ Olympic Team

Mark Todd Secures Spot in NZ Olympic Team

Equestrian Sports New Zealand has today confirmed that six-time Olympian Mark Todd and his mount NZB Gandalf have secured a coveted spot in the New Zealand Equestrian Team for Beijing 2008.

Todd, sponsored by New Zealand Bloodstock Ltd, returned from an eight year retirement just months ago to make a late bid for a place on the team. Trying to rapidly secure valuable qualification points, he competed around New Zealand and then headed to Europe where he recently completed the last piece of the puzzle with a sixth place and qualifying score at Saumur in France.

Todd will be joined by UK-based Andrew Nicholson, Joe Meyer, Caroline Powell and Heelan Tompkins in Hong Kong where the equestrian events are set to be held.

Equestrian Sports NZ Chief Executive Officer Jim Ellis was glowing in his praise of his new team members. "New Zealand's first six-time Olympians Andrew Nicholson and Mark Todd are to be congratulated for the history they will create in Hong Kong.''

Todd was also naturally thrilled with the announcement. "I'm delighted that we've got the nod to go. It was what we set out to do at the beginning and we're looking forward to being part of the team."

Todd has previously won back-to-back individual gold medals with Charisma at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and the 1988 Seoul Olympics, becoming the first rider to win successive three-day-event titles for 60 years. In addition to these, he won three medals as part of the New Zealand Olympic Eventing Team, helping to secure bronze at Seoul in 1988, silver at Barcelona in 1992, and retiring from competition with an individual bronze at Sydney in 2000.

He was also voted the rider of the 20th century by the International Equestrian Federation.

New Zealand Olympic selector and Secretary General, Barry Maister, said the eventing announcement was particularly special. "Mark Todd and Andrew Nicholson are among our finest Olympians and to have athletes attending their sixth Games is testament to the depth of talent we have in New Zealand sport. I think it is a fantastic team and we have high hopes for them."

ENDS

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