Sir Mark Todd is not used to being knocked off the top perch but it transpires he is not be the oldest in the New Zealand Olympic team after all.

Todd was this week named in the New Zealand equestrian team for Rio, meaning he will compete at his eighth Olympics. It was widely acknowledged he would become New Zealand's oldest Olympian, taking over from previous record holder William Edgar Swinnerton, who was 56 when he competed in the sailing at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956.

However, that title now goes to Olympic debutante Julie Brougham, who edges him by "a year or so".

It's two years, in fact. Brougham, who will compete in the dressage in Rio, was born on May 20, 1954. Todd was born on March 1, 1956.


"I did quite enjoy being the elder statesman of the team, but am happy to concede," Todd said.

NZOC chief executive Kereyn Smith said women are looking like the dominant force in the New Zealand Olympic team.

"Athlete numbers are swaying for the first time towards the women in our team," she said. "While Mark may still be our most capped Olympian, it's great to see a female athlete take over the coveted 'most senior' spot. Gender balance is really having a positive impact within our team."

Brougham herself admits, "I had tried to keep my age on the down-low, but hey, now I'm Olympian I may as well embrace it.

"But really, I am the newbie in all of this. Mark has more Olympic experience that would be hard to match. I am very happy to pass the mantle back to him as the one we should all take advice from and aspire to."

Todd will have many challenges to overcome in Rio, not least of all Olympic volunteers.

"It's not going to get better this time, if I'm selected, because most people don't expect me to be an athlete. I remember leaving the venue at Greenwich Park [in London in 2012] and the official said, 'I'm sorry, sir, this bus is for athletes'. I went to get a free haircut at the village and they said the same. I kept getting asked what team I was an official for."