Mike Tucker: BBC equestrian commentator to retire from broadcasting

Mike Tucker
Mike Tucker has been the BBC's equestrian commentator for 40 years
Badminton Horse Trials
Dates: 6-7 May Coverage: Sat 6 May - 11:20 BST live on BBC Red Button, connected TV, online & iPlayer. Sun 7 May - 14:00. Live on BBC Two, connected TV, online & iPlayer

BBC equestrian commentator Mike Tucker is to retire from broadcasting after next month's Badminton Horse Trials.

The 73-year-old former eventer joined the BBC in 1977 and took over as lead equestrian commentator in 1992.

He voiced landmark moments such as Zara Tindall's 2006 world title, Britain's successes at London 2012, as well as Charlotte Dujardin and Nick Skelton claiming gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

"I've been very privileged and enjoyed some great moments," Tucker said.

He worked for the BBC at six Olympic Games, with London a particular highlight.

"My greatest ambition was to call a British Olympic gold medal and that eventually happened at London 2012, not just once but three times, with team gold in dressage first, followed by the amazing individual gold of Charlotte Dujardin and the great Valegro in dramatic, nailbiting style," he said.

"If that wasn't enough, our showjumpers pulled off the sensational team gold medal in the best sporting atmosphere I've ever witnessed in an equestrian competition. A week never to be forgotten."

Tucker had to control his emotions in Rio when showjumper Nick Skelton finally claimed an individual Olympic title at his seventh Games - aged 58, he was Britain's second oldest Olympic gold medallist.

"That was the most deserved win against so many odds that I have ever witnessed," he said.

"It has to be the most exciting moment I've commentated on in my career - Nick was not the only one in tears.

"That was absolute magic and I have been privileged to enjoy many other pieces of magic for a long time and want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way."

He took over as main commentator following the death of Raymond Brooks-Ward in 1992.

"It was an enormous thrill and honour to follow Raymond as he had been my mentor for many years. He set out to explain the sport, but also make it fun and entertaining - goals that I always tried to emulate," he said.

"It's been great to have been a part of it and I have so many wonderful memories."

BBC director of sport Barbara Slater paid tribute to his work.

"After 40 years with us at the BBC we are sad to say goodbye to Mike. He will be missed by his BBC Sport colleagues and audiences alike," she said.

"Mike's wise words and brilliant critique have been a great addition to our equestrian commentary and we wish him well in his retirement."

Charlotte Dujardin
Mike Tucker provided the voice as Charlotte Dujardin won gold with Valegro at the Rio Olympics

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