Andrew Hoy to compete in his 7th Olympics!
|Andrew Hoy to compete in his 7th Olympics! - 21st Jun 2012|
Ater six Olympics and three gold medals, equestrian Andrew Hoy thought his chances of going to a history-making seventh Games were slim.|
Not because the Riverina-raised veteran, at 53, might be getting too old for the sport. Rather, Hoy thought, his horse Rutherglen might be too young.
''I've been working hard towards London but I thought my chances for a long time were limited, only in that my horse is a young horse,'' he said.
Hoy, based in Wiltshire in south-west England, has been with the nine-year-old gelding for five years, taking Rutherglen through the ranks from novice to Olympics level during that period. ''He is a very talented horse, though, and I chose a program that I thought gave me the best chance of being selected and stuck to that,'' Hoy said.
The strategy paid off. The pair performed well enough in international competitions recently to convince selectors to nominate Hoy for selection in the Australian eventing team.
''As you get older you value things more - you value the results, you [value] the opportunities and you value life more,'' he said. ''When I made my sixth Olympics I thought there might be a possibility of getting the record. But when it comes to representing your country, that's not the record you're aiming for, it's just a nice little extra. The goal is to be successful and produce a world-class performance."
Hoy first represented Australia in Los Angeles in 1984, and has been to every Games since. He was Australia's flagbearer in Atlanta in 1996.
He won gold in the three-day event team in Barcelona, Atlanta and in Sydney, where he also won silver in the individual three-day event.
Sydney was his favourite Games experience. ''Not simply because I won the two medals but what made Sydney so special is that it [brought] the best out [of] the athletes, out of the Australian people and out of Australia as a host country. People still come up to me and talk about that Games being the best ever.''
Hoy was nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee in one of five combinations, alongside Beijing silver medallists Shane Rose and Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks, plus debutant Chris Burton.
Equestrian Australia hopes the high individual global rankings - four Australian riders are in the top 10 - translate to medals in London.
Hoy is a big admirer of his horse. ''[Rutherglen] is sensitive and strong - a true athlete. He is very fit, and I think that is what will be needed to run around the course in London.''
Courtesy Fairfax Digital and www.smh.com.au