King looking beyond 2012
July 27, 2012 13:33 pm
Mary King is not planning to call time on her remarkable Olympic eventing odyssey any time soon.
Despite having just turned 51 and with five Olympics behind her, she has no intention of considering Rio 2016 as being a journey too far.
King's longevity is one of British equestrian sport's great stories, and this weekend at Greenwich Park she will once again throw herself into the Olympics mix.
Alongside her she will have long-time Great Britain partner William Fox-Pitt, the 2006 world champion Zara Phillips, double Olympic bronze medallist Tina Cook, plus world and European team gold medal winner Nicola Wilson.
King's eventing career is littered with medals, including world team gold, four European team golds, plus Olympic team silver and bronze.
She would love to complete the collection in London, and although Britain face a tough task against rivals like Germany, New Zealand and Australia, Olympic history suggests they will not be far away.
British teams have won 17 post-war Olympic eventing medals - nine individual and eight team - with King enjoying a permanent place on the roll of honour alongside riders like Fox-Pitt, Richard Meade, Ian Stark, Ginny Elliott and Pippa Funnell.
She will head into the dressage arena this weekend with Imperial Cavalier, or Archie as he is affectionately known, the 15-year-old Irish-bred gelding on which King has enjoyed consistent success and if they click, then Devon-based King could easily feature at the business end of team and individual competitions.
"We have as good a chance as we ever have," said King, assessing British hopes at Greenwich. "We have very experienced combinations, and we are strong as a nation, but we also need luck on our side.
"We are at the heart of the Olympics here in Greenwich, although I don't think home advantage is a huge factor. When it comes down to it, the whole four days of competition are a real test of horsemanship."
Copyright © Press Association Ltd. 2012, All Rights Reserved.