No signs of slowing down as H... | Australian Olympic Committee

No signs of slowing down as Hoy eyes his future

Author imageAOC04 Aug 2021
Andrew Hoy riding Vassily de Lassos during the Eventing Individual jumping final.

EQUESTRIAN: 1984. Not just known as a George Orwell classic, it's also the year Andrew Hoy became an Olympian.

Like a fine wine, he is getting better with age.

Hoy has seen a lot of changes since he first walked in to an Olympic Village 37 years ago, and it's not just the human athletes that have needed to evolve.

At 62, this week he became Australia's oldest Olympic medallist when Hoy took silver in the Teams event and bronze in the Individual, when he competed in his eighth Games in Tokyo.

"While my sport has changed, there's been a huge change in the care and management of the horses," Hoy said.

"Nutrition for the horses has evolved, as has the whole use of sports science around them. The information we get back from the vets and how they are doing is just remarkable."

And while he has travelled all over the world on his Olympic odyssey, Hoy believes getting horses to and from an Olympic venue has also become a much smoother process.

"There's no doubt there's been great improvements in the way horses are transported, it's just so much slicker for them compared to when I first started."

1984 was a different time. Bob Hawke was the Australian Prime Minister. Bruce Springsteen's ‘Dancing in the Dark' was number one on the Australian charts and there were just 21 sports on the Los Angeles Olympic program, compared to the 33 on offer in Tokyo.

Hoy believes the way his own sport has evolved during that time is one of the keys to its, and his, longevity.

"Equestrian is so much faster now. The dynamics have really changed.

"If you liken it to athletics, when I first started it was like a marathon, with long endurance – not [that] it's the equivalent of a five or 10,000 metre race – it just comes at you so much quicker, and with way more intensity.

And while he is conscious of his own fitness and athletic evolution, it's also true of his four-legged co-athletes.

"The quality of the horses nowadays is so much finer.

"They are more sensitive and the attention to detail when preparing horses is really incredible."

Hoy is asked at every Olympic Games how long he can keep going. But it's clear his fire inside shows no signs of being extinguished any time soon.

"I'm naturally pretty healthy, but I'm conscious of what I eat, and I lead a healthy lifestyle."

He believes it's a great mix of genetics that's enabled him to have the incredible longevity in the sport he has enjoyed for decades.

"My father was into motor racing and was also an engineer, he had incredible attention to detail.

"While I only recently found out my 94-year-old mother was head of the sports team while she was at school.

"It actually goes all the way back to my great grandfather who had the Melbourne Cup winner in 1919."

It is this attention to detail, which has not only seen Hoy compete at the highest-level year-after-year, that's gained the unwavering admiration of those within the sport.

"I have a great support team that enables me to do what I do best.

"I'm very fortunate that this is a day-to-day job for me, as opposed to when I started when I did it alongside trying to run a farming business.

He's already had the rare honour of being able to compete in a home Olympics, representing Australia as a member of the three-day team that won gold in Sydney.

When Brisbane 2032 comes around Hoy will be 73, and he hasn't completely ruled out aiming for those Games.

If he makes it to Brisbane Hoy will have the incredible honour of being the only Australian to compete in two 'home' Games.

So what's changed the most since a young Andrew Hoy first joined the Australian Olympic Team?

"My hair. Definitely my hair," he laughed. 

Damian Kelly

#HaveAGo at Equestrian




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