GROWING up as a Goolwa teenager, Scott Keach never would have imagined that at 51 he would be preparing for his second Olympic games.
For 51-year-old Keach, Rio will be his second Olympics and remarkably 28 years since his Olympic debut at the Seoul Games in 1988.
He surpasses the Australian record for the longest time between competing at the games. Keach was also part of the 1986 bronze medal-winning Australian team at the World Championships.
He was raised on the Fleurieu Peninsula and still owns property at Currency Creek, but currently lives in Ocala, Florida.
His mother, Goolwa’s Di Keach said she was extremely proud of her son’s selection.
“It’s amazing, it’s a very difficult sport to get into and a very hard sport to succeed because there’s so much money involved,” Mrs Keach said.
“He’s very lucky as he’s had some good opportunities, he’s a great rider and he’s been able to make the most of it.
“Determination, great talent, and very focused sort of person. If he wants something he will put everything into making it happen.
“He didn’t get into show jumping until 2010 so he’s had a really astronomical rise in the sport. Prior to that he competed in eventing.”
Keach had a break from the sport from the early 90s to do other things in life and after moving to Florida seven years ago he started riding seriously again. He had always wanted to try show jumping again after loving it so much when he was younger.
As a young lad Keach was part of the Goolwa Pony Club and the Victor Harbor Riding Club and competed at the Port Elliot Show.
“I am proud,” Mrs Keach said. “It’s been an incredible achievement and I was very much involved with his riding when he learned as a child. As you do I handed on the coaching to others as he progressed.”
In the lead up to Keach’s first Olypmics at Seoul in 1988, he trained his horse at his property at Currency Creek, just outside of Goolwa. He has competed in 12 countries, and Mrs Keach said it has been a “long, hard financial slog” and much of his travel has been funded by himself, and by his family earlier in life.
“Scott is a very keen surfer, he loves the south coast and the water, when he gets back down here the first thing he does is go down to the water and check the surf,” Mrs Keach said.