‘I’m used to being the older Olympian’ – Hester

by Admin
'I'm used to being the older Olympian' - Hester

Carl Hester first rode at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and has taken part at every Olympic Games since 2000 apart from Beijing 2008 [Getty Images]

“I’ve kind of got used to the ‘older Olympian’ mantle,” says Carl Hester.

The 57-year-old dressage rider, as in Tokyo, will be the oldest member of Team GB in Paris, and one of the most experienced.

He made his debut at the Barcelona Games in 1992, before many of the British team heading to France were born, and has gone on to win medals at each of the last three Olympics.

“To be honest, having done the amount of Olympics I’ve been lucky enough to go to you never know when each one ends if you’re going to make the next one,” he tells BBC Radio Guernsey.

“In my case it’s all about the horse, am I going to have another one good enough? Am I going to have another one able to win medals?”

Carl Hester won team gold at London 2012 alongside Laura Bechtolsheimer (centre) and Charlotte Dujardin (right) [Getty Images]

Luckily for Hester – who was born on the tiny Channel Island of Sark – he has been able to find a mount good enough to keep him at the top of the sport – he and 14-year-old stallion Fame helped Great Britain win team gold at last year’s European Championships in Germany.

He will hope that he and his team-mates can keep their run of success going.

It stretches back to London 2012 when he helped Team GB win team dressage gold before winning silver four years later and bronze at the last Olympics in Tokyo.

“You have to have this passion and excitement after this amount of time, still wanting to do it, still being out there and bringing home medals,” he says.

“I know how important it is for a sport that is lesser known that we keep winning.

“I did three Olympics where we won nothing and it didn’t really impact our sport at all.

“Then from London, where we won our first ever Olympic medal, things are different now.

“The pressure is so different because once you’ve started winning then the pressure to keep winning is always there.

“I can say it doesn’t get easier as you get older, in fact it gets a lot worse.”

Carl Hester was 25 when he competed at his first Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992 [Getty Images]

And what of those medal chances?

With Hester’s stablemate Charlotte Dujardin in the squad there is always hope – she has won three gold medals, a silver and two bronzes at the last three Olympic Games on horses owned and trained by Hester.

“There’s Germany, Denmark and Great Britain who are all neck and neck,” he says.

“The British team’s scores are improving as we go towards Paris – at the moment if you look at the statistics we’re lying in what would be considered, let’s say, a silver medal position.

“But we still have five weeks to go so there’s still some training to do, we’ve got to be really careful at this stage of the season that we don’t over-train.

“Charlotte Dujardin is based with me, so we work very closely together every day trying to up our game.

“We’re brutally honest with each other, it doesn’t always make for our friendship, but that’s life when you’re training, you’ve got to get better.

“It would be a dream to win another medal this year, gold – having had that success once – would be fantastic to achieve again.”

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