Grandmother of three to represent Australia at sixth Olympic Games

  • A grandmother of three is to represent Australia at her sixth Olympic Games. Mary Hanna, 66, has been selected for the Australian Olympic dressage team on Calanta, along with Kelly Layne on Samhitas, and Simone Pearce on Destano.

    Both Kelly and Simone will be making their Olympic dressage debuts, but Mary has already flown the flag for Australia at five Games: Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, London 2012 and Rio 2016.

    Mary, who has a fourth grandchild due in a few weeks, said she was looking forward to another Games.

    “I am absolutely thrilled to be selected for my sixth Olympics,” she said. “It has been a truly testing time for all with so many challenges… a bit like walking a tightrope to get this far, and I am sure it’s been the same for my fellow team members.

    “In spite of this I am so proud to be joining Kelly Layne and Simone Pearce to represent Australia, and I am sure together we will make a great team.”

    Mary Hanna was the oldest athlete on the Australian team in Rio 2016, and the oldest competing Olympic equestrian. She has represented Australia five times at the World Equestrian Games, in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2014 and 2018.

    Australian Olympic team chef de mission Ian Chesterman said: “Mary continues to inspire with decades of performing at world-class level, becoming the first woman to make six Olympic Games for Australia.

    “Congratulations to all riders selected today, Australians will be thrilled to watch our equestrian team in action in Tokyo and to see Australian Olympic history made.

    “Thank you to the families, supporters, coaches, grooms and Equestrian Australia who have helped these riders over decades to achieve their Olympic selection for Tokyo.”

    Equestrian Australia CEO, Darren Gocher, said the records set by Hanna and Andrew Hoy are testament to the longevity and “proud legacy of equestrian sport within Australia”.

    “Today we not only welcome the selection of a diverse and talented team of athletes, we also celebrate the core values of our sport, where men and women compete on equal terms and age is no barrier to achieving success at the highest level,” he said.

    “I would like to congratulate all combinations selected to represent Australia in Tokyo, and to acknowledge the dedication, hard work and commitment of the athletes, owners, grooms and everyone involved in the Olympic journey.”

    Continues below…

    The discipline of jumping is subject to an appeal by a non-nominated athlete, with selections to be announced when the process is finalised.

    The Australian Olympic dressage team is:

    • Mary Hanna on her own and Robert Hanna’s Calanta (groom Casey Hill)
    • Simone Pearce on her own and Gestüt Sprehe’s Destano (groom Emily Reudavey)
    • Kelly Layne on her own and Nori Maezawa’s Samhitas (groom Satomi Ishikuri)

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