Age no barrier for Mary

Mary Hanna

Age no barrier for Mary

One for the grandmas! The oldest Tokyo Games Olympian, 66 year old Australian ‘Magic’ Mary Hanna is about to step up for her 6th Olympics. In her quest for a dressage medal, she is partnered by Calanta, her trusty mare & friend: “It’s all about the horse & your relationship with the horse.” Hanna told Channel 7 Sunrise.

“When I first hopped on her I felt an instant connection and she gave me this wonderful feeling and we’ve been great partners ever since.”

Hanna notes the truly inclusive nature of equestrian as one of the reasons for her longevity: “It’s one of the few sports where age and gender mean nothing, young, old, male female, we’re all equal.”

Timing has been kind to the grandmother of 4 who was able to witness the birth of her new grandson just weeks before leaving for Tokyo: “Fortunately I got to hold him in my arms and see him which was quite emotional.”

Her preparation has been rocky including taking a break from the sport in 2019 to care for her daughter, who suffered significant injuries after a falling from a horse.

When she rides Calanta tonight in Tokyo, Mary will make history on a number of levels, becoming the oldest Australian Olympian ever, breaking a record held since 1932.

Mary Hanna

She will also hold the record for the most Olympics for any female Australian athlete; a title she will share with table tennis veteran Jian Feng Lay who is also competing in her 6th Olympics.

And on a global level she is the second oldest female Olympian ever behind Lorna Johnstone, also an equestrian, who competed at the 1972 Munich Games, aged 70.

When asked about the possibility to continue on and become the oldest Olympian, Hanna said: “Let’s take it one step at a time and see how the body handles it.”

Go Mary & Calanta!

Image Source: Instagram Equestrianaus


Patrick Skene

Patrick Skene is a founder and Chief Creative Officer of Cultural Pulse. Patrick works with over 100 communities and creates compelling content for clients to engage with them. He is a storyteller, marketer, writer and author of ‘The Big O, The Life & Times of Olsen Filipaina‘ which has gone into reprint. His stories on the intersection of sport, history and culture have been published by The Guardian Australia, the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and Inside Sport. He is currently the proud coach of the Rockdale Raiders Under 8B1’s football team.