ATHENS OLYMPICS: Husband and wifeprepare for new Olympic encounter

17th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

18 August 2004 , ATHENS - German eventing rider Bettina Hoy jokes when she is asked about her marriage to equestrian rival Andrew Hoy: "We are taking the Olympic idea to perfection." The former German and European champion and her Australian husband are the only married couple competing for different countries in the same event, she explains - while holding his hand. "We both want to win, but we also celebrate each other's success and support each other at every opportunity," says Andrew, who has already w

18 August 2004

ATHENS - German eventing rider Bettina Hoy jokes when she is asked about her marriage to equestrian rival Andrew Hoy: "We are taking the Olympic idea to perfection."
The former German and European champion and her Australian husband are the only married couple competing for different countries in the same event, she explains - while holding his hand.

"We both want to win, but we also celebrate each other's success and support each other at every opportunity," says Andrew, who has already won gold three times for Australia in previous Games in Sydney, Atlanta and Barcelona.

Born in Rheine, Germany, and named Overesch before her 2001 marriage, Bettina also competed at the 1984 Olympic Games where the couple first met. A second Olympic encounter followed in Atlanta in 1996.

The Athens Olympics, however, are the first in which they are after the same medals as husband and wife, and both are clear about the order of events: The own national team comes first, then the partner.

"I first went on a tour of the terrain with my team, then to a meeting with the national coach, and only then did I meet up with Andrew," Bettina says, adding: "We help each other wherever possible."

The couple live in Britain where they rent a house and stables on the Gatcombe Park Estate of Princess Anne, whom Andrew has known for 25 years - ever since he first came under the patronage of her former husband, Captain Mark Philipps.

Prior to this year's Olympics, the couple did not see each other for several weeks. Bettina, 41, left for Germany, where she trained with the national team in Warendorf, while Andrew, 45, met with his Australian team partners in Britain.

In Athens, husband and wife Hoy also stay in different quarters. She declined to move into Andrew's larger room, Bettina explains. "Now I sleep in a bed that folds out of a wardrobe," she says, adding: "but I prefer to stay with the team."

"We'll still have enough time (for each other) after the Games," she says, but admits having met up with Andrew after the opening ceremony.

Asked about his chances in the team and individual eventing, Andrew admitted to Australian radio Tuesday: "My wife Bettina riding for Germany is going to be a very strong contender for an individual medal."

Later in the day, Bettina promptly took the lead over Andrew and came second in the cross country section of the individual event, while Andrew suffered a slight fall but managed to finish the race.

"I went straight on the offensive," Bettina said, exhilarated by her success on Ringwood Cockatoo.

Four years ago in Sydney, the three-time gold medallist could not complain that his wife posed a threat.

At that time, Bettina was only a reserve, and not even a member of the German team. "That was totally different," she admits, saying she flew to Sydney at her own expense - as Andrew Hoy's biggest fan.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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