Michael Phelps is just one Olympic athlete involved in horse racing. (Eclipse Sportswire)
Olympic athletes love competition and horse racing is one outlet where many of them get their fix in the off-season (or year-round). Read up on some of the current and past Olympians involved in Thoroughbred racing and get ready for Rio's opening ceremonies this Friday.
With 22 Olympic medals, swimmer Michael Phelps is the most accomplished U.S. Olympian of all time. He’s also dived into owning racehorses recently with his swimming coach Bob Bowman.
A member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, racehorse trainer Michael Matz was also a member of the Olympic show jumping team and won a team silver medal in at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. In 2006 he trained Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and he won the 2012 Belmont Stakes with Union Rags.
Michael Matz (black cap) with Union Rags. (Eclipse Sportswire)
The second-oldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Zara Phillips won a silver medal in team eventing in the 2012 Summer Olympics. She owns racehorses with her husband, former English rugby player Mike Tindall, and has been spotted at tracks around the world.
Olympic gold medal-winning decathlete Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn Jenner, has been spotted on several occasions at the races in California. Recently, her daughter Kendall, along with the Kardashians spent a day at Del Mar.
An Olympic gold medalist in skiing, Bode Miller has become a major investor in racing over the past few years. He owns about a dozen horses, mostly stabled at Fair Hill in Maryland where Miller purchased a barn last year. In partnership with Jill Baffert, Bode Miller won the Real Quiet Stakes with Carving in 2012.
The first member of the British Royal Family to have competed in the Olympics, Princess Anne was an accomplished equestrian who rode the Queen's horse Goodwill in the 1976 Olympic Games. In 2012, she presented the silver medal to her daughter Zara Phillips at the London Olympics. Like the rest of the Royal Family, Anne has been ever-present in racing over the years, especially on some of Britain’s biggest race days.
An Olympic level three-day event rider, Phillip Dutton recently became involved in racehorse ownership. He’s a partner in one of U.S. racing’s largest syndicates, West Point Thoroughbreds. Dutton has retrained many off-the-track Thoroughbreds over the years including 2008 Preakness third-place finisher Icabad Crane and 2014 Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve.
Phillip Dutton (Eclipse Sportswire)
Olympian and top show jumper Nick Skelton is the father of steeplechase trainer Dan Skelton and jockey Harry Skelton, and Nick’s show jumping stable is located right next door to Dan’s racing stable. In 2012, Nick was on Great Britain gold medal-winning men's equestrian team at age 54 and Rio will be Nick Skelton’s seventh Olympic appearance. He also competed in the 1980 Alternative Olympics where England won the team silver medal.