NEWCASTLE, Britain -- Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu is the oldest competitor in London at 71, having made his Olympic debut in the 1964 Tokyo Games -- 21 years before Michael Phelps was born.
But the thing that keeps him coming back, he says, is the hope that he'll get better at his sport.
"The biggest motivation [is to] feel I'm improving," he told the Guardian newspaper after competing in Thursday's dressage individual Grand Prix event. "If I feel 'OK, I'm getting worse,' I will stop."
But Hoketsu, who studied at Duke University in North Carolina, concedes that age may force him to stop first. Not his age but that of his horse, Whisper, a 15-year-old chestnut.
"I want to return," he said in reference to Rio de Janeiro and the 2016 Games. "But I don't think I can. My present horse is too old for that."