LONDON, July 28 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's equestrian legend Mark Todd, who competed in seven Olympic Games, announced his retirement on Sunday after helping the Kiwi team to win a FEI Eventing Nations' Cup event in Ireland.
The 63-year-old, one of his country's greatest ever athletes, made this announcement at the Camphire International Horse Trials in Ireland, where New Zealand confirmed their win by finishing first in the jumping.
Todd, who was named as the FEI Rider of the 20th Century in 2008, won two individual gold medals from the Olympic Games in 1984 and 1988, four Badminton titles and five Burghley crowns. He has competed at seven Olympic Games for New Zealand, including two where he rode in both showjumping and eventing; and a run of World Equestrian Games where he was on two gold medal-winning teams.
"I had been thinking about it for some time," said Todd, who will now turn his focus back to racing. "The opportunity came up at the end of last year with the racing and I can't keep going (with eventing) forever. I had initially thought I may stay on for one more Olympic Games but since I got back into the racing my attention has been taken away from the eventing and I was finding it harder and harder to focus on the eventing."
"It is not just about the competition and unless you are 110% focused and driven towards that goal, you won't succeed... and I certainly wasn't. In fairness to the owners, horses and others hoping to get on the team, this was the best thing. I have been here once before but there will be no comeback this time."
Todd retired from the sport for the first time after the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and began breeding racehorses, as well as coaching New Zealand's 2004 Olympic Games equestrian team. He made a comeback to international competition in 2008 and finished 5th in the team event at the Beijing Olympic Games.