Andrew Hoy will represent Australia at an unprecedented eighth Olympic Games, extending his own record of seven as the most Olympic appearances by an Australian athlete, while Mary Hanna becomes the first woman to make six Australian Olympic Teams.
Hoy, Chris Burton and Shane Rose will compete in Eventing, and Hanna, Simone Pearce and Kelly Layne will compete in Dressage.
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.
In Tokyo, Hoy will ride Vassily de Lassos, a 12-year-old gelding owned by David and Paula Evans, and will be aided by groom Clémentine Girardeau as he attempts to secure a fourth gold medal.
66-year-old Mary 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 an incredible 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 an astounding six horses qualified for the Games prior to Covid, will ride mare Quality Purdey, owned by Claire Poole, and will be accompanied by groom Coriander Cousins. Rose has been selected for the team with his long-time ride and World Equestrian Games partner Virgil, owned together with his wife Niki and Michelle Hasibar. Rachel Watts, who groomed for Rose at Rio, will once again take on the role in Tokyo.
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 and Emily Reudavey will support the combination as their groom. Layne, who is based in the USA, 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. Satomi Ishikuri will be the groom for Samhitas and Layne at the Games.
The Eventing team reserve combination will be Stuart Tinney and Leporis, who will travel alongside the selected team to Japan.
Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team Ian Chesterman congratulated the history-making team.
“What a fantastic piece of Olympic history this equestrian team will make in Tokyo,” Mr Chesterman said. “Andrew’s eight Games is a truly rare achievement. Andrew is one of only 13 people over 125 years of Olympic history to achieve this feat, and is testament to a life dedicated to excellence.
“Mary continues to inspire with decades of performing at a 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 six riders over decades to achieve their Olympic selection for Tokyo.”
Hoy said he is looking forward to representing Australia at his first Olympic Games since becoming a father to daughter Philippa (age 3) and son Oscar (age 1), as well as riding a horse he believes may be one of the best of his career.
“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.”
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 two records set by Hoy and Hanna is a testament to both the longevity and proud 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.”
The discipline of jumping is subject to an appeal by a non-nominated athlete, with selection to be announced when the process is finalised.
Today’s announcement takes the number of athletes selected to 284 of an expected 450-480.
The Equestrian competition will run from 24 July – 7 August at Tokyo’s Equestrian Park. Find out more about Equestrian at the Olympic Games in the infographic below.