Olympic dream starts at home
|Olympic dream starts at home - 26th Jun 2012|
|"If you want to be an Olympian, make sure you tell your mum and dad first" were the words of advice from 2008 Beijing Olympic Games competitor Heath Ryan.|
Ryan represented Australia four years ago in the dressage but played a vital role in the national team grabbing gold medals in eventing in 1996 at Atlanta and in 2000 at Sydney.
The 53-year-old was in Mudgee competing at the Cudgegong Jump Club's One Day Event at AREC and Shawwood Estate on the weekend.
He said for any young aspiring Olympians, they must be willing to do the hard work but also let your parents know of your decision.
"It has to be something you've got to do and if you want to do it, you have to be brave enough to sort of announce it to your mum and dad that you want to ride at the Olympics," Ryan said.
"There are lots and lots of ways of doing it but the first thing is announcing it to your mum and dad.
"But certaintly being involved in an event like this in Mudgee, that is a huge step in going to the Olympics."
Ryan was the assistant coach of the Australian Eventing Team at the Olympics in Atlanta, Sydney and Athens.
He represented the nation at Beijing but has all but given up hope of representing Australia at London next month.
Although his wife Rozzie has a chance to make it; she is currently in the Netherlands competing in the final trials.
"Riding at the Games was the pinnacle," Ryan said.
"It was a very, very special experience and I wouldn't trade it for all the money in China."
Ryan thinks Australia does have a good chance of winning gold in London.
"We have always gone into the Olympics as not having a chance but we won three consecutive gold medals in '92 in Spain, '96 in the [United] States and the Americans couldn't believe we could get lucky twice. Then we won again in the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
"The team we have for London is a mixture of incredible experience and depth and only the top two or three nations in the world can match it.
"Also we have a splash of people who have never ridden for Australia but are in brilliant form."
Ryan said competitions like the One Day Event in Mudgee helps make Australia stronger on the international stage of equestrian.
"It is difficult for the organisers to understand the major part they play in the big picture.
"These kids would represent the cutting edge of potential Olympians in the world and you need to look after them in the country areas," he said.
Courtesy of Fairfax Digital, The Mudgee Guardian and Ben Harris