Oldest 2016 American Olympian wins his first individual medal

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Phillip Dutton rides around the arena wearing his bronze medal (AP)
Phillip Dutton rides around the arena wearing his bronze medal (AP)

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Let’s put Phillip Dutton’s bronze medal at the Rio Olympics in some perspective: He’s four years older than Mary Lou Retton.

Dutton, who at 52 years old is the oldest American competing at the Rio Olympics, won a bronze medal in equestrian individual eventing. Dutton had previously won gold in 1996 and 2000 in team event, but this was his first individual medal.

This was also Dutton’s first medal competing for the United States. Dutton, competing in his sixth Olympics, won those golds with his native Australia.

“It’s a great privilege to be competing in my sixth Olympics, and I’m one of those lucky people who’s gone past what I ever dreamed I’d do,” Dutton wrote on his blog after the second day of the three-day event. “I’m counting my lucky stars to have the chance to ride at this level and be at the Olympic Games.”

Dutton, riding his horse named Mighty Nice, was in 15th place after the second day of the event but charged back on the final day to take third. It’s the first American medal in equestrian individual eventing since 2008, NBC said.

Although Dutton made some history at age 52 — he’s the oldest American medialist since 1952, when Everard Endt won gold in sailing, according to Sporting News — he’ll need to stay at the top of his game for a while to set an American record for oldest Olympian. The oldest American Olympian ever is Thomas Scott, who competed in archery at the 1904 Olympics at 71 years old.

Oscar Swahn, a Swedish shooter, is the oldest Olympian ever from any country. He was 72 at the 1920 Olympics and won a silver medal. He won his first medal, a gold, at the 1908 games when he was 60.