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Currently celebrating his 80th birthday, Churchill, dean of world's statesmen, looks back on a full and varied sports career, including "30 years of polo."

The winner of Britain's Public School Fencing Championship in 1892 was a chunky 18-year-old redhead from Harrow. A contemporary expert called him "one of the smartest competitors ever seen at these annual contests." Thus did Winston Spencer Churchill earn his first taste of fame. His other feats since then have obscured the life of Churchill the sportsman, but as a cadet at Sandhurst and later as a young officer he excelled in all equestrian sports, especially polo. In India he led his team to victory in the celebrated Inter-Regimental Tournament and scored three goals despite a badly injured arm. Recently he remarked contentedly, "I've had 30 years of polo."

Age has removed him from the saddle but the Churchill colors, pink, chocolate sleeves and cap, can be seen at race meetings. He paid a debt of gratitude for the pleasures of horsemanship when he wrote: "Don't give your son money...give him horses. No lost that is spent in the saddle."

Fisherman Churchill won an argument with this 188-pound marlin off Catalina Island in 1929. He vacationed in California after five years as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Eye on the ball, Churchill forgot his worries as First Lord of the Admiralty during a round of golf at Cannes in 1913. He had been working hard to modernize British Navy.

Riding to hounds with the Old Surrey and Burstow Hunt near his farm in Kent, Sir Winston, temporarily out of office, made one of his last appearances on a horse in 1948.

"The prince of games" he called polo "because it combines all the pleasure of hitting the ball...with all the pleasures of riding and horsemanship, and to these is added that intricate, loyal team-work...which renders a true combination so vastly superior to the individuals."

Mediterranean swim was relished by pet poodle Fluffy and master during a visit to Monte Carlo in 1948. Churchill learned how to swim as a nine-year-old schoolboy.