Obit of the Day: Australia’s Oldest Living Olympian
In 1960 at the Rome Olympics, Bill Roycroft won his first gold medal in the three day horseriding competition “eventing.” (Think horse triathalon.) He was 45. Roycroft, suffered a serious injury in a fall during the second event, steeplechase, and had to sign a medical release in order to leave the hospital. On painkillers, he was still in such discomfort his teammates had to help him dress. His final ride was flawless, though, making all twelve required jumps and ensuring the Australians a first place finish.
Roycroft, who didn’t have his first saddle until he was fourteen, rode his entire life. A World War II veteran, he also represented his country at the 1964 (Tokyo), 1968 (Mexico City), 1972 (Munich), and 1976 (Montréal) Olympics. He was bronze in 1968 and 1976, the latter when he was 61 years old. His eldest son rode with him in ‘68 and his two other sons in ‘72. (His wife also competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.)
He was one of eight Australian athletes to carry the Olympic flag during the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. He passed away at the age of 96.
(Image courtesy of Western Australia Equestrian)