Arts alumna, grandmother and equestrian dressage rider Mary Hanna (BA 1974, Dip Ed 1988) was named Australia’s oldest competing Olympian at the Rio 2016 Olympics in August. She was also the third Australian woman to compete at five Games. Hanna was 61 years and 253 days (8 months, 9 days) when she began competition on August 10.
Hanna, who is based at Bellarine, Victoria, achieved 9th in the Dressage Team Grand Prix (alongside team members Sue Hearn, Lyndal Oatley and Kristy Oatley) and 39th in the Dressage Individual Grand Prix. Her horse Boogie Woogie recorded a personal best Grand Prix score of 69.643 per cent.
“Every time I have done the Olympics I’ve thought, this is probably the last time I will do it, but after the last time I thought, I am going to keep going with this because I feel fit and healthy and why shouldn’t I? So, here I am,” Hanna said. She plans to compete in Tokyo 2020.
Hanna was born into a family that loved horses and became involved with a pony club from a young age. Her love affair with riding continued to grow and eventually she set up Statene Park, a horse stud and teaching establishment near Geelong. Despite initially being a showjumping and eventing rider, she made the transition to dressage. She continues to train from Geelong and is coached by Kyra Kyrklund.
First represented Australia at the Atlanta Games in 1996 Hanna went on to compete at the 2000, 2004 and 2012 Olympic Games. Her career highlights include becoming the first Australian dressage rider to qualify for the Grand Prix Special at an Olympic Games (Atlanta 1996) and competing as a member of Australia’s most successful Olympic Dressage Team (6th at Sydney, 2000).
Congratulations to Mary Hanna on her outstanding achievements!