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Joan Gilchrist covered five Olympic Games

Joan Gilchrist moved from Scotland to New Zealand in 1974, but her heart is still divided when it comes to loyalty at the Olympics. “I normally support New Zealand first and Britain second. But when it comes to rugby I’m torn, then I have to support Scotland.”

Joan devoted all her life to journalism, working for several publications such as the New Zealand Home Journal and the New Zealand Horse and Pony magazine. She covered the equestrian competitions for five Olympic Games (Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000).

Joan is holding a picture taken at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Joan and other equestrian reporters jumped on the gold podium to take the picture.

She still remembers the excitement at Los Angeles when one of New Zealand’s most celebrated sportsmen, Mark Todd, won his first gold medal: "When Mark Todd won his first gold medal, right until the final day when it looked like he was up for a medal, I was the only journalist there – and the riders and back-up squad treated me like one of the team, which made it all the more special."

In this picture Joan is riding one of her horses, Mighty Michael

Joan is very happy with her decision to move to New Zealand where she could pursue her passion for horse-riding and hunting: “I could have a horse here! I could never have afforded a horse in Scotland”. She moved to Pakuranga Park more than three years ago because she loved how much space the residents have here. The village is set on 30 acres of park-life grounds. “It proved itself very handy when it came to the lockdown because we have a 2,2 km walk here”.

Joan decided to retire in 2003 but quickly changed her mind when she was offered the chance to work with Allyson Gofton, the popular face of television’s “Food in a minute”. She ended up writing two Country Calendar books with her and helped with the publication of Recipes from My French Kitchen. Joan has been enjoying watching the Tokyo Olympics from her villa at Pakuranga Park and she’s very proud of New Zealand’s achievements in rowing and sailing. “But mostly I’ve been binging on the horse events. The Grand Prix Dressage is out of this world”, she says with a big smile full of a lifetime of memories.

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