Let's put things in perspective here. The first time show jumper Ian Millar of Perth, Ont. went to an Olympic Games, it was 1972. Pierre Trudeau was Canadian prime minister, Richard Nixon was president of the United States and the top movie at the box office was "The Godfather".
Flash forward 40 years to the London Olympic Games. There have been eight Canadian prime ministers, seven U.S. presidents and the 65-year-old Millar will be competing at a record-setting 10th Olympics.
"It's a great thrill to be doing this for the 10th time,'' the man nicknamed Captain Canada told the Ottawa Citizen. "I never had a grand plan.
"It was all about the journey because the destination is, at best, very uncertain as it is in life."
Jill Henselwood of Oxford Mills, Ont., who won a silver medal with Millar in the mixed team jumping event four years ago in Beijing, offered up some reasons for his longevity.
"He's a freak," said Henselwood, who turns 50 later this year. "He wakes up hungry, wanting to learn more and improve.
"If you're not improving, you're not there. It's not getting easier. It should get easier, but he (Millar) keeps adding more tasks."
Millar was named to the 1980 Canadian team that boycotted the Moscow Olympics. Austrian sailor Hubert Raudaschl competed in nine Olympics from 1964 to 1996.
As a coach, Millar also taught dozens of national and international riders.
Besides the Olympics Millar has earned nine medals at eight Pan American Games, more than any other show jumping athlete. In 1988 and 1989, along with his famous horse Big Ben, the pair became the first horse and rider combination to win back-to-back World Cup Finals.
In London, Millar will ride a horse called Star Power.
"He knows everything he needs to know for London,'' Millar told the Calgary Herald. ''He's jumping fantastic. He jumped double clean in the Nation's Cup in Wellington (Florida) ... he finished second in the $500,000 feature Grand Prix down there. Went to Europe, was fantastic; jumped double clean at the Nation's Cup in Lummen (Belgium). He's right on his game."
Millar takes the same enthusiasm into his 10th Games as he did his first.
"We always think we're going to win and we're really surprised when we don't,'' he said. ''I think any athlete feels that way. If you don't think you're going to win, you shouldn't go.''
There's no saying London will be Millar's last Olympics. The 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro beckon.
"Maybe he'll ride forever," joked Henselwood. "In Rio, he may need Pegasus, the (mythological) horse with wings."
The most decorated equestrian in Canadian history, Millar is a member of the Order of Canada and was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.
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