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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
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Sophie Christiansen holding gold medal

Sophie Christiansen

Equestrian
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Alongside her Team GB team mate Sir Lee Pearson, Sophie Christiansen is one of the most recognisable faces of her sport. And it’s usually a face that’s lit up with delight after another win.

Christiansen, who will turn 30 in 2017, burst onto the Para dressage scene at the Beijing 2008 Games where she won the grade Ia freestyle gold, a team gold, and silver in the individual test. Fast forward four years to London 2012 and Christiansen completed a clean sweep of gold medals in team and individual competitions, a feat she repeated again in Rio 2016. She is also a multiple World and European champion, and the current world number one.

Born two months premature with cerebral palsy, Christiansen got into her sport as part of her therapy when she was just six.

She is not just a superb rider either. A graduate in mathematics, she balances her training with a job with an investment bank in the City of London, and is also a prominent disability rights spokesperson. That maths background comes in handy too, as she uses her skills in that field to calculate various moves in the dressage arena. “I’m a bit of a geek,” she confesses.

She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours list by Queen Elizabeth II for her services to Para equestrian.