Richard Meade (GBR) OBE, triple Olympic gold Eventing champion, former member of the FEI Bureau, FEI Eventing Committee and Chairman of Group II (Northern Europe), has passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 76 years old.
He became the first British athlete to win individual Eventing gold at the Munich 1972 Olympic Games, after making his Olympic début in Tokyo eight years earlier.
In Munich, he also helped Great Britain to secure their second consecutive Olympic team gold medal following the Mexico 1968 Olympic Games where, in a tropical downpour in the Jumping phase, he clinched the team title and secured fourth individually with a clear round on Cornishman V, a horse he had never sat on before.
In total he competed in four Olympic Games, as well as the substitute event at Fontainebleau (FRA) in 1980 during the partial boycott of the Moscow Games, and also carried the British flag at the closing ceremony of the Munich Olympics.
He went on to claim team silver at the FEI World Eventing Championships in 1974, and by 1981 had scored team gold three times for Great Britain at the European Championships (1967, 1971, 1981). In 1982, he won his final team Eventing gold at the World Championships in Luhmühlen (GER). As an individual, he also won at Badminton in 1970 and 1982, and the Burghley Horse Trials in 1964.
His dedication to equestrian sport was life-long, and after retiring as an athlete he served as President of the British Equestrian Federation, chairman of the Federation’s British Horse Foundation and on the British Horse Society’s Council.
He was also focused on developing Eventing globally. As well as being a former member of the FEI Bureau and FEI Eventing Committee, and Chairman of Group II (Northern Europe), he was an FEI coach and judge and worked closely with the FEI and the Olympic Solidarity programme to develop Eventing at grass roots level.
“Richard Meade was a brilliant, courageous horseman with a strong sense of team responsibility, who became a household name in Great Britain,” said Hugh Thomas, Chairman of the Board of British Eventing and Director of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
“He was known for his reliability as a member of the British team at the height of its success, and as a rider who had the ability to get on any horse and immediately form a successful partnership with it. Most recently, he gained great pleasure from seeing his son, Harry, compete for the senior British team. Richard will be very sorely missed by many people around the world.”
“Richard Meade was the horseman of his day, putting Eventing on the map and the spotlight on the glamour and excitement of horse sport,” said Catrin Norinder, FEI Director, Eventing & Olympic. “He inspired sports fans and athletes around the world at the Mexico and Munich Olympic Games, World and European Championships, and back on home soil at Badminton and Burghley, which continue to showcase international Eventing at its best.
“After competing, he continued to dedicate his life to equestrian sport and the equestrian community in many valuable roles, including giving his services as a volunteer at the London 2012 Olympic Games. We are all truly grateful for his loyalty and commitment, and immensely proud of his Olympic Eventing legacy.”
The FEI expresses its sincere condolences to Richard Meade’s wife Angela and their three children - Team GBR member Harry, James and Lucy - his many friends, the British Equestrian Federation and the global Eventing community.