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Olympic Equestrians  
page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  

Pearson is not only an inspiration to disabled athletes but also a proud member of the glbtq community. He came out to his parents on the eve of his twenty-first birthday, for which they "wanted to lay on a major, major . . . party." He had previously pretended to have a romantic interest in women but decided that the time for honesty had come, asking himself, "What's the point in people celebrating my coming of age when they don't know who I really am?"

The revelation, he stated, "was difficult for my mum and dad because they had the normal expectations of marriage and grandchildren so there was a period of adjustment." Pearson was gratified by their eventual response, however. "I'm quite glad that I came out before I moved out and had my independence," he said, "because then you know you've really been accepted."

Pearson owns a yard with six stables in Cheddleton, where he has established a very successful breeding business. The athlete who cannot move without full-leg splints and crutches or the use of a motorized wheelchair also trains able-bodied equestrians in the art and sport of dressage.


With a generally welcoming attitude toward glbtq participants, equestrianism is the exception in sports culture, which is all too often homophobic.

Robert Dover expressed the hope that athletes in other sports will someday feel free to identify themselves publicly as gay—and he knows that there are many who could. "I wish that all gay athletes would come out in all disciplines—football, baseball, the Olympics, whatever," he said. "After six Olympics, I know they're in every sport. You just have to spend one day in the housing, the gyms, or at dinner to realize we're all over."

Linda Rapp

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More Entries about The Arts

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arts >> Overview:  Sports: Gay Male

While sports, at least on the major competitive level, may be the final closet for gay men, there have nevertheless been a number of gay male elite athletes.

arts >> Boitano, Brian  

Figure skater Brian Boitano, who won a gold medal in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, came out publicly soon after he was named to the American delegation for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. 

arts >> Cranston, Toller

Canadian skater and painter Toller Cranston combined artistry and athleticism to help revolutionize figure skating.

arts >> Curry, John

World and Olympic figure skating champion John Curry was one of the first athletes to speak candidly about his sexual orientation while competing.

arts >> Etheridge, Melissa

Award-winning rock singer and songwriter Melissa Etheridge has not only managed to carve out a spectacularly successful career as a popular mainstream performer, but she has also become a lesbian icon and activist for gay and lesbian causes.

arts >> Louganis, Greg

Widely regarded as the greatest diver in history, Olympic champion Greg Louganis has acknowledged both his homosexuality and his status as a person living with AIDS.

arts >> Mitcham, Matthew

Out gold medal diver Matthew Mitcham earned the highest score in the history of the sport on his final dive in the ten-meter platform event at the 2008 Olympic Games.

arts >> Orser, Brian

Olympian Brian Orser, known for both his athleticism and artistry, led a resurgence of Canada as a force to be reckoned with in men's figure skating; after being outed in a palimony suit, he has become an advocate for glbtq rights.

arts >> Tewksbury, Mark

Olympic medalist Mark Tewksbury was closeted throughout his competitive swimming career, but since coming out has become an advocate for glbtq rights.

arts >> Waddell, Tom

Olympic decathlete Tom Waddell is best known for founding the Gay Games, a sports and arts event modeled on the Olympics.


Akersten, Matt. "Peter Taylor—Ticking along Nicely." (April 5, 2007):

Armytage, Marcus. "Pearson Proves Real Gentleman in Defeat." Sunday Telegraph (London) (September 2, 2012): Sport, 4.

Bingham, Eugene. "Equestrian Newcomer Paul O'Brien Named over Andrew Nicholson for Three-Day Event." New Zealand Herald (September 15, 2000): Story.

"Blyth Tait." New Zealand Olympic Committee:

Brown, Oliver. "Peason's Dream Dashed by British Judge." Daily Telegraph (London) (September 4, 2012): Sport, 10-11.

Carl Hester Official Website:

Cuckson, Pippa. "Dressage Trio Add to Gold Rush with First Ever Medal." Daily Telegraph (London) (August 8, 2012): Sport, 26-27.

Dorothy's Sister:

"Edward Gal and Hans Peter Minderhoud, One Track Minds." Eurodressage (January 10, 2008):

"Edward Gal, Dutch Dressage Rider." Horse & Hound (February 2, 2010):

Elliott, Collin. "Cardiff Dressage Rider Won't Make Olympics." North County Times (California) (March 15, 2008):

Equestrian Aid Foundation:

Firth, Helen. "Down to Earth." New Zealand Horse & Pony (December 6, 2006):

Gill, Mary Anne. "Tait's Oh So Proud to Carry the Flag." Waikato Times (Hamilton, New Zealand) (September 15, 2000): 1.

"Guenter Seidel in the Spotlight":

Herrick, Linda. "Indomitable Spirit Baffles Medics." New Zealand Herald (February 26, 2005): ID=10112670.

Jenkins, Sarah. "Global Dressage Forum Blog: Life after Totilas." Horse & Hound (October 26, 2010):

"Lee Pearson." (October 17, 2008):

"Lee Pearson: Para-Equestrian Dressage." Team GBR:

Phelps Media Group:

Philip, Robert. "I Feel Lucky That I Have Found My Talent, What Riding Has Given Me Is Respect." Daily Telegraph (London) (December 30, 2004): Sport, 5.

"Robert Dover." Jewish Virtual Library:

"A Tough Year in the Saddle." Evening Post (Wellington, New Zealand) (December 30, 2000): Sport, 25.

Vox, Dylan. "Equestrians Carry the Torch for Gay Olympians." GaySports (2006):

Warren, Patricia Nell. "His Fight to Get to Athens." OutSports (August 4, 2004):

Woog, Dan. "Robert Dover's Foundation Doesn't Horse Around." Between the Lines 1534 (August 23, 2007):

Zeffer, Andy. "Trotting Down a Different Path; Gay Men Play an Important Role in Equestrian Circles." Houston Voice (August 13, 2004):


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Olympic Equestrians  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2009  
    Date Last Updated September 7, 2012  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2009 glbtq, Inc.  


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