In Memoriam: FEI pays tribute to Mike Tucker (GBR), 1944-2018 

29 Mar 2018

Mike Tucker, the former British Eventing athlete who was known in his second career as the voice of equestrian sport for his commentary work with the BBC, has died suddenly at the age of 73.

Born on 1 January 1944 in Gloucestershire (GBR), he competed internationally over a 20-year period, representing Great Britain at two FEI European Eventing Championships. He rode at Badminton 12 times and finished as runner-up there in 1983 with the home-bred General Bugle. He was also a groom at the Mexico Olympic Games in 1968, looking after Cornishman V, the horse that Richard Meade rode as a member of Britain’s gold medal winning team.

His retirement from the competition circuit gave him time to give back to the sport that he loved. He worked as a course designer between 1993 and 2011, including designing the cross country for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2002 in Jerez (ESP) and the FEI European Eventing Championships at Burghley (GBR) in 1997. He was also a well-respected Technical Delegate from 1991 to 2014, including officiating at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992.

He served a four-year term as a member of the FEI Eventing Committee from 1995 to 1999, was a member of the Hartington International Eventing Safety Committee, the Eventing Safety Sub-Committee from 2007 to 2009, and the FEI World Cup™ Eventing Working Group.

But he was possibly best known for his commentary work, both for the BBC and on-site at events. His commentating skills were honed in local amateur theatre, and he joined the BBC in 1977, going on to become lead equestrian commentator in 1992 after the sudden death of Raymond Brooks-Ward, shortly after the Barcelona Olympics.

During a 40-year career with the BBC he covered all the major championship and six Olympic Games as well as Badminton, Burghley and Olympia. He felt that the multiple gold medals for the British at London 2012 could not be bettered, but four years later, he described Nick Skelton’s individual gold in Rio 2016 as “the most exciting moment I've commentated on in my career - Nick was not the only one in tears”.

“We have lost one of the true gentlemen of Eventing”, FEI Eventing Director Catrin Norinder said. “He was one of the greatest ambassadors for the sport, both as an athlete and then through his work and contribution forming the future of the Eventing Sports with the FEI and with the BBC. His warmth, friendship and sense of humour made him enormously popular and he will be very much missed.”

The FEI extends its deepest sympathy to his wife Angela, children Andrew and Emma and grandchildren, to British Eventing and to his wide circle friends on the international circuit.

Mike Tucker, the former British Eventing athlete and voice of equestrian sport with the BBC has died at the age of 73. (FEI / Kit Houghton)

Mike Tucker, the former British Eventing athlete and voice of equestrian sport with the BBC has died at the age of 73. (FEI / Kit Houghton)