20 July, 2024
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Showjumper Rose apologises, cleared for mankini stunt

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Three-time Olympic showjumping medallist Shane Rose has apologised and been cleared of his self-described “mankini-gate”, meaning he can continue preparing for the Paris Games.

While Rose said his stunt at a competition earlier this month was “to have a bit of fun”, he said it had caused plenty of stress after he was stood down by Equestrian Australia.

The governing body acted on a complaint, and had Rose remained stood down it could have put a big dent in his Paris campaign.

“My intentions were to have a bit of fun,” he told Channel Nine’s A Current Affair on Monday night.

“In saying that, it’s a pretty serious thing … if that (his Paris program) was going to be compromised by missing an event in two weeks in New Zealand, it would be a massive compromise to my program.

“It’s a nerve-racking time, not knowing, but I was always hopeful that common sense would come to the conclusion we’re at.”

In a statement, Equestrian Australia accepted Rose’s apology, confirmed he had not breached their code of conduct, and announced it would assess minimum dress standards at events.

“I’ve done it, haven’t I – I don’t need to do it again,” Rose said.

“I’m comfortable with my decisions, but because some faceless person makes a complaint, a lot of things have happened over the last 24 hours that are not nice.

“I would not recommend a G-string to anyone, they’re not a comfortable bit of gear – and when you put that on a horse, even less comfortable.

“It’s been scandalous … mankini-gate.”

Earlier on Monday, Rose told radio 2GB: “It’s an unofficial dress-up competition.”

Competing at the event in the NSW southern highlands, Rose dressed in a Duffman outfit from TV show The Simpsons, as a gorilla wearing a mankini, and in the skimpy mankini alone.

While the mankini was made famous by Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedy character Borat, Rose said his inspiration was a colleague.

“I didn’t get the inspiration from Borat but from a colleague … he’s quite a hairy Greek man and he said that he loves putting on a mankini at parties and showing off his hairy chest,” Rose said.

“So I went as him in the ape suit and put the mankini on, but then I thought ‘if I’m going to impersonate someone I’ll have to have a go myself’ and just sort of have fun.

“I was pretty thoughtful, I had to put a cap ‘downstairs’ and I put some electrical tape up to make sure there were no mishaps.”

He said things took a serious turn when he received a letter from EA last week confirming it was  looking into the complaint and that he would be stood down while it did so.

 Shane Rose (second from right) with his bronze medal-winning eventing teammates at Rio 2016. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS 

Rose won silver medals in team eventing at the 2008 and 2020 Olympics, and a bronze at the 2016 Games.

EA issued a statement regarding the investigation.

Many members of the equestrian community were not impressed with Rose being stood down, with some changing their Facebook profile pictures to Borat in a show of solidarity.

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