The Roar
The Roar


22 days to Rio: Ian Millar - the most experienced Olympian

Ian Millar is part of the Canadian Equestrian team and the most experience olympian in history. (photo: Wikimedia)
14th July, 2016

At the London Olympics in 2012, Canadian equestrian team member Ian Millar became the most experienced Olympian in history, competing in his tenth Games.

Despite being 65 when the Games began in London, Millar has remained near the top of the show jumping discipline right the way through his career, although he’s only won one medal – a silver in Beijing.


Despite that record at the Games, he has won four gold medals at the Pan American Games in both individual and team jumping, along with another four silver medals and two bronze.

His last gold medal came in 2015, aged 68.

When Millar broke the record for the most Olympic appearances, he went past the now equal second-place holders Hubert Raudaschl, a sailor from Austria, and Afanasijs Kuzmins, who competed in shooting for the Soviet Union three times and later Latvia on six occasions.

Funnily enough, Australia’s most capped Olympian is also part of an equestrian team. Andrew Hoy has competed in seven games after making his debut in 1984. He’s won three gold medals since.

Millar made his Olympic debut all the way back in 1972 at Munich and has been named in every Canadian team since, although he didn’t compete in 1980 thanks to the Canadian boycott of the Soviet Union.

His first horse, named Big Ben, rode between 1976 and 1999. With him, Millar won 40 Grand Prix titles and the show jumping World Cup twice.


It is thought Millar will be forced to miss the 2016 Olympics, but not due to his own retirement. Unfortunately, his main horse Dixson had to undergo a pair of sinus surgeries, rendering him unfit to compete at the Games and ruining Millar’s best chance of Olympics number 11.

But in keeping with the theme of the name ‘Millar’ being a constant presence at the Olympics, there’s a chance one of his children will be selected to the Canadian team for Rio.

Be sure to follow The Roar as we look back on some of the most memorable moments in Olympic history – be they weird and wacky or brilliant and significant – and count down the days until the Rio Olympics opening ceremony.

The Roar’s countdown to the Rio Olympics

50 days to go: Australia’s first Olympian, Edwin Flack
49 days to go: Brazil capitulate at the 2012 Olympics
48 days to go: Blood in the water during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
47 days to go: Daniel Carroll, the man who won rugby gold with Australia and America
46 days to go: Margaret Abbott – the golfer who didn’t know she had won gold
45 days to go: Where did all the amateurs go?
44 days to go: Australia’s oarsome foursome
43 days to go: When Korea stood as one
42 Days to go: Oscar Swahn, the oldest Olympian
41 days to go: Edith Bosch – the Olympian not known for her medals
40 days to go: Jane Saville’s heartbreaking Sydney Olympics
39 days to go: Herb Elliot dominates in Rome 1960
38 days to go: Teofilo Stevenson, the boxer who might have beaten Ali
37 days to go: Betty Cuthbert steals the show in Melbourne
36 days to go: Jesse Owens’ heroic performance in Berlin
35 days to go: Eric the Eel steals Sydney’s heart
34 days to go: What happened to Cassius Clay’s gold medal?
33 days to go: Australia’s equestrian brilliance at Barcelona
32 days to go: The Olympic sports which are no longer with us
31 days to go: Debbie Flintoff-King wins on the line
30 days to go: The dominance of basketball’s Dream Team
29 days to go: Nadia Comenaci scores gymnastics’ first-ever perfect score
28 days to go: The man who stopped for a duck
27 days to go: The upset of the Sydney Olympics
26 days to go: Murray Rose’s scintilating Melbourne performance
25 days to go: Greg Louganis’ heroic comeback win
24 days to go: Fencing turns to duelling in Paris
23 days to go: Dawn Fraser’s flag-stealing shenanigans
22 days to go: The most prolific Olympic competitor
21 days to go: Duncan Armstrong’s underdog win in Seoul
20 days to go: Johnny Weissmuller: A brilliant swimmer and Hollywood actor
19 days to go: Majorie Jackson – the Lithgow Flash
18 days to go: Larisa Latynina, the most successful female Olympian
17 days to go: Dimitrios Loundras, the child who won an Olympic medal
16 days to go: Roy Jones Jr is robbed of an Olympic gold
15 days to go: Shane Gould’s superstar performance in Munich
14 days to go: The Kookaburras finally fly to the top of the world
13 days to go: Matthew Mitcham’s historic dive
12 days to go: Even Olympians are prone to the odd fail
11 days to go: Abebe Bikila wins the Olympic marathon running in bare feet
10 days to go: Track cycling’s greatest rivalry
9 days to go: Kieran Perkins’ gold medal from lane eight
8 days to go: Sally Pearson’s awesome run in London
7 days to go: Mark Spitz’ perfect seven gold medals in ’72
6 days to go: Usain Bolt torches the field in Beijing
5 days to go: Michael Klim and Ian Thorpe help smash America’s 4x100m world record like a guitar
4 days to go: Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ defiant black power salute
3 days to go: Michael Phelps – the best to ever grace the Olympics
2 days to go: Cathy Freeman delivers with the weight of a country on her back
1 day to go: Ian Thorpe – Australia’s finest Olympian