Former FEI Honorary Vice-President and Olympic rider Pedro Oscar Mayorga has died peacefully at his home in Buenos Aires at the age of 93.
Mayorga was also the longest serving FEI Bureau member, having joined in 1956 as the first ever Latin American representative on the Bureau. He was also a jumping rider, a chef d’équipe, and an official at the highest level of the sport.
Born in Buenos Aires in 1921, the year in which the FEI was created, Pedro Oscar Mayorga began competing in equestrian events in his native city at the age of eight and was a two-time national junior champion. In 1947 he met top rider Elena Argañaràz on the Jumping circuit and they married eight months later. Together they competed at FEI events in Europe and America throughout the 1950s. They had five children, three of whom – Eduardo, Juan Francisco and current FEI Second Vice President Pablo Mayorga – are involved in equestrian sport.
In 1955 and 1959, Mayorga was on the Argentinean Jumping team at the Pan American Games in Mexico City (MEX) and Chicago (USA), but probably his most significant achievement as an athlete was the fourth place of his country’s team in the Jumping competition at the Stockholm 1956 Olympic Games. This remains the best Olympic placing by an Argentinean equestrian team to date.
In the late 1950s, Mayorga combined riding and the role of chef d’équipe and in 1960 he was chef d’équipe of the Argentinean team which won the historic Aga Khan trophy at the Dublin Horse Show in Ireland. He was also chef d’équipe at the Olympic Games in Rome the same year.
Between 1962 and 1976 he was Technical Delegate in Jumping and Eventing, President of the Ground Jury in Jumping, and a member of the Appeal Committee at key events, including four Olympic Games – Tokyo 1964, Mexico City 1968, Munich 1972, and Montreal 1976.
In 1956, while walking the Jumping course in Aachen (GER), he was told that the then FEI President HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands would like to meet him. Shortly afterwards Pedro Oscar Mayorga became an FEI Bureau member. From 1965 he held the position of Second and then First FEI Vice-President until he stepped down in 1981. “The Bureau will not be the same without you,” Prince Philip, FEI President from 1964 to 1986, wrote to Mayorga upon his retirement.
FEI President Princess Haya said the passing of Pedro Oscar Mayorga was sad news. “He was a talented rider, a successful chef d’équipe, a much respected official, the longest serving FEI Bureau member and Vice-President, and a real gentleman whom I admired very much. He dedicated his long life to serving our sport and the contribution he has made in his various roles is truly exceptional.
“Our thoughts are with his family and especially with our dear friend, FEI Second Vice-President Pablo Mayorga, at this time of mourning. Pedro Oscar Mayorga’s legacy will live on through his son.”
Pablo Mayorga said: “I believe I will never be able to contribute to our FEI as much as my father did during his 25 years as Bureau Member and Vice-President.”