Like father like son

11 November 2008

Thomas McDermott, 15, aims to follow in his father’s footsteps and compete at the Olympic Games.

Thomas is the youngest member of the national show jumping team to compete at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) in Sydney this January.

“Riding horses is in my blood” he said. “My father [Greg McDermott] competed at the 1988 Olympic Games in show jumping. He won a few qualifying rounds but then his horse broke down...”

McDermott grew up in rural New South Wales, on a property just outside of Wagga.

“I was about six-years-old when I first started riding horses. I went to pony club at Lake Abbot in Wagga and competed at local carnivals,” he said.

“By the time I was 11, I was competing at horse shows and when I was 12, I won the Australian Junior Show Jumping title in Sale.”

The 15-year-old is one of four athletes selected to represent the country in show jumping at the Youth Festival next year.

“I feel pretty good about being selected for the AYOF, especially as I am the youngest equestrian athlete selected,” he said.

“It will be fun, a good experience and I hope to make some new friends.”

Riding on borrowed horses at the Festival, McDermott will not be nervous by the challenges this presents.

“I feel confident about riding on someone else’s horse,” he said.

“I ride a lot of different horses and have started to study those entered in the competition. I suppose on the day, I will hop on, see how I feel and go from there.”

McDermott will also use the occasion as a stepping stone towards fulfilling one of his goals – to compete at the Olympic Games like his father.

“Dad is a very inspiring man. One day I hope to get to that level. He helps me out every day and I look up to him.”

The AYOF equestrian events take place from 16 – 18 January 2007 at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre - the Sydney 2000 Olympic Venue.

Visit olympics.com.au for the detailed schedule and more information.

2009 AYOF Show Jumping Team
Olivia Homood Kilcoy QLD
Thomas McDermott Wagga Wagga NSW
Caitlin Bolger Serpentine WA
Jessica Brown Kulnura NSW

Frances Cordaro
AOC

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