Event: Equestrianism, dressage
Who is she? Born in Canada and raised in Naas, 49-year-old Anna Merveldt is the oldest member of Ireland’s London contingent as well as the country’s sole representative in the dressage event. She’s also a former Olympian, having finished 11th at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.
Partnered by Coryolano, her 16-year-old Bavarian gelding, Merveldt is currently ranked 75th in the world.
Road to London: Merveldt’s qualification hit an unexpected snag last December when she broke a rib in a car accident in Italy. She bounced back and managed to finish as second reserve by the qualifying cut-off on 1 March. Colombia was able to take up just one of three places which it earned at last autumn’s Pan-American Games and so Merveldt got the nod.
What she says about herself: “You never know how things will go, but I think London will be good fun. The standard is huge at the moment and I would not be expecting a medal, we’ll just see how far we can get.” (Irish Examiner, June 2012)
Medal chances: Only 18 of the 50 riders will make it to the final kur in London, which decides the individual medals, and Merveldt has set that as a realistic target. It’s only worth a one from Jimmy though…
On the Twitter: She’s not on the Twitter, which is probably for the best. Tweeting while on a horse is hardly advisable.
If you meet her in a bar, ask her about… her work training young riders in Italy, where she is based. Unfortunately Merveldt had to give up the role in the spring of 2012 to concentrate on her Olympic challenge.
If she was a YouTube video, she’d be… something excellent involving a horse. This will do.
YouTube credit: nadiaetseb