Australia Announces Olympic Eventing And Dressage Teams

Jun 25, 2021 - 8:07 AM

Eventer Andrew Hoy, 62, and dressage rider Mary Hanna, 66, will set longevity records when they represent Australia at the Tokyo Olympic Games, anchoring the Olympic eventing and dressage teams announced today, June 25, by Equestrian Australia.

Hoy—a three-time gold medalist—will be participating in his eighth Olympic Games, extending his own record of seven as the most Olympic appearances by an Australian athlete, while Hanna becomes the first woman to make six Australian Olympic Teams.

The eventing team is:

• Chris Burton and Quality Purdey, owned by Claire Poole.

• Andrew Hoy and Vassily de Lassos, owned by David and Paula Evans.

• Shane Rose and Virgil, owned by Shane and Niki Rose and Michelle Hasibar.

• Reserve combination: Stuart Tinney and Leporis, owned by Stuart and Karen Tinney.

The dressage team is:

• Mary Hanna and Calanta, owned by Mary and Rob Hanna.

• Kelly Layne and Samhitas, owned by Kelly and Nori Maezawa.

• Simone Pearce and Destano, owned by Simone and Gestüt Sprehe.

The show jumping team also was expected to be announced today, but it is subject to an appeal by a non-nominated athlete, with selection to be announced when the process is finalized, according to a press release from Equestrian Australia.

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Andrew Hoy has made his eighth Olympic team for Australia, this time with Vassily de Lassos. Lindsay Berreth Photos

After making his Olympic debut in Los Angeles in 1984, three-time Olympic gold medallist Hoy’s selection extends his own record of most Olympic appearances, becoming the 13th athlete in Olympic history to make eight games, joining only nine eight-time Olympians and three athletes who have competed at more. The 62-year-old will also surpass rider Bill Roycroft, who was aged 61 in 1976, to become the oldest Australian male competitor at an Olympics.

Hanna continues her decades of equestrian excellence, extending the record she set in Rio as the oldest Australian Olympic competitor. Hanna will contest her sixth Games aboard her mare Calanta, who she co-owns with husband Robert Hanna, and will be supported on the ground in Tokyo by her groom Casey Gill.

The Eventing team boasts depth of experience with Rio bronze medallists Burton and Rose selected to their third Games, while dressage competitors Pearce and Layne are making their Olympic debut.

Burton, who had six horses qualified for the games prior to COVID, will ride mare Quality Purdey, owned by Claire Poole. Rose has been selected for the team with his long-time ride and 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (North Carolina) partner Virgil, owned together with his wife Niki and Michelle Hasibar.

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Shane Rose will ride longtime partner Virgil.

Pearce, 29, who currently holds all three Australian Grand Prix records and is the team’s youngest member, will make her Olympic debut riding the black stallion Destano. Pearce co-owns Destano with Gestüt Sprehe. Layne, who is based in the United States, will also compete in her first Olympics next month on Samhitas, with whom she has been partnered since 2019 and jointly owns with Nori Maezawa.

“To represent Australia at international level over so many years has been the greatest privilege and honour of my life,” Hoy said. “I have never set out to break records on my number of Olympic Games participations—I am just a country boy from Culcairn, who loves his horses, has a huge passion for our sport and thrives on being competitive at the top end.

“I have been fortunate to have had wonderful support from so many people over the years, as you can never do this alone. It is a huge team effort, and I am so grateful for everyone´s support.

“There is nothing that beats the feeling of wearing the green and gold and being part of a team of incredible athletes—going onto the biggest sporting stage in the world—and all wanting to make Australia proud. In Vassily de Lassos, owned by David and Paula Evans, I have got one of the best horses I have had in my whole career—so let’s hope the best is yet to come.”

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Mary Hanna rode Boogie Woogie 6 at the 2016 Rio Olympics, making history as the oldest Australian rider at an Olympics. This year, she’ll ride Calanta.

Hanna, a grandmother of three with number four due in the next few weeks, and legend of Australian dressage, is excited to once again step into the Olympic arena.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be selected for my sixth Olympics,” Hanna 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.”

Equestrian Australia CEO Darren Gocher said the records set by Hoy and Hanna are a testament to both the longevity and legacy of equestrian sport within Australia.

“Today we welcome not only the selection of a diverse and talented team of athletes, but 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.

“I would like to congratulate all eventing and dressage 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.”

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