Show Jumping

Nick Skelton Joined Twitter Two Weeks Ago and It’s Pure Gold

Give that man a SPOTY already!

©FEI/Richard Juiliart

Nick Skelton joined the 21st Century (a decade late) and opened a Twitter account two weeks ago.

His foray into social media comes exactly one day after the 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist was nominated for BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY). Skelton is up against 15 of Britain’s best for the award and has taken to Twitter in a bid to garner votes.

We’ll skip past the part where we lament about Skelton’s absence from our newsfeed until this moment. We’ll gloss over the fact the Facebook page Nick Skelton for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, also launched two weeks ago, has already collected nearly 30,000 likes. We won’t even speculate over who in fact is typing his tweets.

Because this Twitter account? It’s everything you ever wanted from Skelton in 140 characters of fewer. He deserves an award for it alone.

Let’s take a scroll through some of his career highlights.

At the tender age of two Skelton had already perfected the position and forgiving hands that would make him one of the most successful show jumpers in history.

(His pony Oxo was born the same year as him. #AWWWE)

He had the colorful fashion sense to go with it.

Pictured here: Skelton dressed as the Alka Selzer boy. Because it’s never too early to start courting potential sponsors…

All of which he passed down to his son, Harry.

As seen in this home movie.

Fast forward to the pony jumpers: Skelton started training with Ted and Liz Edgar when he was 14.

He rocked the long locks and a perfect automatic release.

He went on to win individual gold at the Junior European Championships.

On a substitute horse, no less. Skelton’s top horse, Maybe, came up lame just before the event. He rode the “reputed ordinary horse” OK to a gold medal instead. Presumably, No Way wasn’t available.

Three years later, he set the British high jump record of 7’8″ at Olympia.

That’s the same height as Japanese basketball player Yasutaka Okayama, the tallest person ever drafted by the NBA. 

This is their first near death experience crack at it.

The second attempt didn’t go much better…

Then boom! World record.

Come ’86, Skelton added two World Championship medals to his growing collection.

He took home the Team Silver and Individual Bronze medals with Apollo that year. But it was this moment that stood out for Skelly…

He’d make his Olympic debut two years later.

By then, he’d trimmed his locks. (And his shorts.)

Then disaster struck. Skelton broke his neck in 2000 and retired briefly.

He returned to show jumping in 2002, setting the stage for an epic comeback.

Skelton went on to win team gold at the London 2012 Olympic and individual gold in Rio 2016.

But there’s one other victory not included in his Wikipedia page…

Voting for the SPOTY Award  takes place this Sunday, December 18. Register here so you’re ready to cast Nick Skelton into history and win him the title that eluded Scott Brash last year.


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