Photo by Kate Samuels
I’d like to say I’m shocked, but I’m not. Gordon Rayner of the British Telegraph is reporting tonight that 63 year old Captain Mark Phillips, Chef d’Equipe of the US Eventing Team, is divorcing his current wife Sandy Phillips for US show jumper Lauren Hough. Lauren, 35, has been assisting with coaching of the US Eventing Team this year including the spring training sessions and lessons with Sinead Halpin at Rolex. Mark’s divorce from Sandy is of course Mark’s second failed marriage, he separated from the Great Britain’s Princess Royal before marrying Sandy.
According to the Telegraph: “Sources close to Capt Phillips said he broke the news to his 58-year-old wife and their 14-year-old daughter Stephanie earlier this year…The couple’s separation and forthcoming divorce were confirmed to The Daily Telegraph in a statement from Capt Phillips’ solicitors at the law firm CKFT.”
The Telegraph further reports that Mark is now planning to leave his home in England and establish residence in Wellington with Lauren. “He has reportedly told friends that ‘I might only be alive for another five or ten years so I might as well be happy’.” Lauren Hough, 35, is a former US Olympian in show jumping. Lauren is just a few years older than Mark’s daughter Zara and over 20 years older than a daughter he has with Sandy.
Mark Phillips is a good coach, even a great coach even for some riders, but his personal behavior as the leader of the US Eventing Team is consistently reprehensible. There’s no point to rant about morality and there have been rumors about this for some time. Certainly, nobody is perfect and I will say that I do think Mark has been improving in recent years. But, whether Mark likes it or not, whether he believes it or not, whether he cares or not, his position as a leader in this sport means that he should hold himself to a higher standard. In my opinion this has never and will never be the case and for that reason alone 2013 and his departure from the US Eventing Team can’t come soon enough.
[Telegraph via JER]