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Olympic Profile: Japan's Hiroshi Hoketsu

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Online, the headlines are buzzing about the eldest athlete in over 90 years: 71-year-old Hiroshi Hoketsu. Eventing in the dressage portion of the equestrian competitions for the 2012 Olympic Games, this is not the first time that Hoketsu has qualified over the past five decades.

A former pharmaceutical CEO with brands American's trust, this "Oldie Idol" tells, "People say I'm a miracle, but I'm just an ordinary old man."

Regardless of his humility, people of all ages around the world are gearing up to cheer on this Olympic national treasure.

Here are the facts behind this summer's most watched athlete:

Full name: Hiroshi Hoketsu

Original Japanese name: Hiroshi Jin Hokke, Hiroshi Hokke Tsu, 法華津 寛

Birthday: March 28, 1941 (71 years old)

Zodiac sign: Aries

Stats: 5 feet 4 inches, 96 pounds

Family: Wife - Motoko; daughter (unnamed in the press)

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Currently resides: Aachen, Germany (since 2003)

Schools: Keio University, Duke University

Nicknames: "OIdie Idol," "His Majesty," "Tsu Hokke"

Olympics participated in: 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games in show jumping (no medals); 1984 Los Angeles Olympics dressage (alternate); 1988 Seoul Olympics dressage (horse was put in quarantine); qualified for 2012 London Olympic Games in dressage.

Past equestrian events: 1994-2003 Japan Dressage Championship, 2008 Grand Prix, 2010 World Equestrian Championships, 2012 International Equestrian Federation's Asia-Oceania dressage rankings (first place).

Total Olympic medals: 0 (prior to London)

Trainer: Ton de Ridder (Netherlands)

Current horse/mount: Whisper/Uisupa (15 years old)

Riding Clubs/Affiliations: Tokyo Riding Club (past), Avalon Hill Side Farm, Japan Equestrian Federation

Social Media/Website: Japan Olympic Team

Diet: Says in interviews that he can "eat whatever I want to eat."

Message to older athletes: "Keep the motivation and you will keep young."

Other facts about Hoketsu: He was born around the time that Japan was bombed in World War II, lived in the country and that is where he learned to ride horses. … He was 23 when he participated in the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, placing 40th in the show jumping event. … Hoketsu switched to dressage after 1964. … He spent most of his adult life working in upper management for several pharmaceutical firms. … Is the oldest Olympian ever besides Oscar Swahn. … Hoketsu has a graduate degree from Duke in economics. … Hoketsu's current mount, Whisper, loves bananas. … Nickname for his horse Whisper is "Intelligent Friend."

Additional sources:

NBC Olympics

New York Times

Japan's Olympic Website

More from this Contributor:

Top 10 Oldest in Equestrian Horse Records

2012 Olympic Equestrian Events: Rules and Format

TV Guide: 2012 Olympics Equestrian Events Schedule

Odd 70 Percent Obesity in the Gulf, but No Saudi Female Olympiad?: Fan's View

Maryam Louise regularly writes about competitive horse-related sports through her freelance writing for Yahoo! and During the Olympics, her interest expands from horse racing to equestrian events. Currently, Louise hopes Hiroshi Hoketsu will participate in the 2016 Rio Olympics when Whisper retires.

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