The Olympic dream of Heath Ryan is effectively over despite cementing his number one Australian dressage ranking with victory at the Melbourne International 3-Day Event.
Ryan took out the CDIW Grand Prix Freestyle with Regardez Moi during the June long weekend but confirmed with the Mercury yesterday that his decision to stay in Australia in the lead up to London had cost him a spot on the national team.
Fortunately for the Heatherbrae-based Ryan, who represented Australia at the 2008 Beijing Games, he still held Olympic hopes for wife Rozzie.
Rozzie has been abroad in Europe with bay stallion Jive Magic in a bid to clinch one of three available positions on the Australian dressage team for London 2012.
The final squad is expected to be announced by equestrian officials next week after initial plans to name the successful riders on June 6.
“Rozzie has been going good and she has moved into the top five,” Ryan said.
“They were supposed to name the team on June 6 and they haven’t yet, but hopefully Rozzie can at least score a reserve spot.
“You never know, that may materialise into a shot on the team.”
In terms of his own Olympic aspirations, which Ryan had held since bouncing back from a stroke in the May of 2009, he virtually put them on hold for Rozzie.
Rozzie had been a reserve on the team last campaign as well and Ryan, a three-time assistant coach with the Australian eventing team at Olympic Games, decided to hold the fort in the Hunter Valley in order for his wife to have a crack at London.
“You had to go over [to Europe] to make the team even though I was the number one ranked Australia dressage rider,” Ryan said.
“That was part of the criteria, which was a bit silly really but that is another story.
“Someone had to stay here and keep the business going and we couldn’t both afford to go over.
“And I went to the last Olympics so it suited me for Rozzie to try and compete for Australia this time.”
Olympic aspirations are still alive for Dungog’s Paul Athanasoff with one spot remaining on the showjumping team.
The 2011 Maitland Sportsperson of the Year nominee, who won the Australian Showjumping Championships last year, has been one of the country’s best performers in Europe with his charge Wirragulla Nicklaus.
Still on the Olympics but closer to home, Branxton’s Craig Barrett may have fallen fractionally short of claiming a position on the Australian team after finishing third on Wendela Jamie in the feature at the Melbourne International 3-Day Event during the weekend.
Also in the Victorian capital Lambs Valley rider Jeremy Janjic finished third behind Ryan in the CDIW Grand Prix Freestyle with his Friesian stallion Django of Cacharel.