Amy Millar has been to the Olympics plenty of times before—but now, finally, she’s there to compete.
The 39-year-old show jumper has grown up supporting her father, equestrian rider Ian Millar, who is the all-time leader in Olympic appearances with 10. But Amy Millar is set to hit the Olympic course herself for the first time, when the individual and team jumping events get underway Sunday.
“It’s a great honour to be here representing Canada,” she said. “I know from a second-hand perspective what a special event the Olympics are. And I must say, being here as a competitor this time, you feel it even more.”
Ian Millar had been aiming for an 11th Olympic appearance, until sinus surgery to his mount, Dixson, ruled him out. Both Amy and her brother Jonathon were under consideration to be part of Equestrian Canada’s team, with Amy ultimately chosen to represent the country (and the Millar name) at these Games.
The Millar patriarch also made the trip to Rio, though not simply as a spectator. He’s been helping Amy in the warm-up ring, and providing guidance about some of the challenges she can expect on an Olympic course. He also shared some wisdom before Amy arrived in Brazil earlier this week.
“He just kept telling me—if he told me once, he told me 10 times—don’t do anything you wouldn’t usually do,” she said. “Be safe, because there are a lot of people that get a little overexcited right before the Games.”
The Olympic newcomer will also have the backing of her teammates Eric Lamaze, Yann Candele and Tiffany Foster—who, along with Ian Millar, won team gold at last summer’s Pan American Games. Lamaze and Ian Millar also won silver in the team jumping event at Beijing 2008.
“We have a fantastic group here,” said Amy Millar. “We all try to go to other events together, we help each other at the jumps. We really have come together well, and I think that’s going to help us.”
With Millar in high spirits (and her horse Heros in good condition) after several days in Brazil, she is hoping to add to her family’s decorated Games history.
“We are going to buckle down and get something done in the next couple days, and try to win us a medal!”