America’s Top Player helps spread the game’s popularity.
PHOTOS BY Juan Lamarca
Published Fall 2013
In recent years, the sport of polo has gained mainstream attention, thanks in large part to the luxury and fashion brands that have become associated with it. Many of them, such as Audi or Piaget, have brought polo to their customers by sponsoring teams or by choosing the handsome polo players as models in their advertisements.
As such, polo has increasingly become associated with faces like that of Nic Roldan, an 8-goal, third-generation polo player and a Piaget model who was born in Argentina and raised in Wellington. Roldan jump-started his career when he played for the winning team in the U.S. Open in 1998, at just 15 years old. “Polo has been in my family for many generations,” says Roldan. “Sports were always in my blood.”
Roldan strives to achieve the elusive 10-goal rating. The highest handicap level possible, there are currently no Americans to hold this distinction. “I have had some setbacks, bad teams…but I am still very confident I will achieve it with the right circumstances, team, and horses,” says Roldan. “Top horses are like a finely tuned formula-one car, precisely prepared for each match to perform at its top level.”
In addition to being the best American player at the moment, he is also one of the most important in the world for his contributions to the spreading popularity of the sport. “Polo is becoming more and more commercialized, so modeling is part of my job. It’s work, and I really enjoy it,” says Roldan. “I think it’s part of every athlete’s job to market themselves appropriately.”
Players like Roldan, Nacho Figueras, and Prince Harry have put polo on the front pages of newspapers and celebrity style magazines, and Roldan expects the coming years to be even better. “Polo is attracting a lot of attention from corporate companies, lifestyle brands, and television networks,” Roldan says. “There’s no limit to the game of polo. It’s an amazing sport. It’s intense, fast, and beautiful to watch.”