TOKYO, Japan — The Tokyo Games have just begun, but the Olympics oldest competitor, 66-year-old Australian equestrian Mary Hanna, is already looking ahead to 2024.
Hanna, who is competing in her sixth Olympics, has four grandchildren and is 54 years older than Tokyo’s youngest competitor (12-year-old Syrian table tennis player Hend Zaza). She says she plans to ride in the 2024 Paris Games—if her health and her body allow.
“It's only three years away.” Hanna said after competing in dressage qualifiers on Saturday. “Unless my body really breaks down, I'm certainly aiming for Paris."
Dressage is one of the three equestrian disciplines and are the only Olympic events that do not differentiate competitors by gender. The sport has often featured athletes 50 and older.
"I don't know what else to do with myself.” Hanna said after she competed in dressage qualifiers on Saturday. “I've been doing this for so long now. Look, riding’s one of those amazing sports where you can do it no matter what your age is, or your gender."
Hanna also has hopes of winning an Olympic medal.
"You always dream that your next horse, your next competition, that you're going to make it better. You just keep striving to do the absolute best you can. The Olympics is a lot about participation, too, so just being here is great."
Australia stood 12th of 14 teams after Saturday's first round of dressage qualifiers.