Star showjumper Rose faces review after mankini stunt

Shane Rose, seen in conventional show-jumping dress, is being probed after competing in a mankini.

Shane Rose, seen in conventional show-jumping dress, is being probed after competing in a mankini. Photo: AAP

Three-time Olympic medallist Shane Rose says his mankini costume was “just a fun day” after the veteran showjumper was stood down by Equestrian Australia for the stunt at a competition earlier this month.

In line to compete at his fourth Games in Paris later this year, Rose’s participation hangs on the outcome of a review by Equestrian Australia (EA) following a complaint from a member of the public.

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

“I didn’t mean to offend anyone and if I did, I apologise for it, but it was just a fun day, I thought,” he said.

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.”

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

“I understand from their point of view, as a complaint’s been made and they have to go through a process.

“There’s an integrity panel that is going to look at it, hopefully in the coming days.

“It’s pretty scary. I’ve got a fairly important event coming up in New Zealand in a couple of weeks which is hopefully my last preparation ticket to Paris – so hopefully it’s a positive thing that can come out of the next few days and we can look back at it as a funny joke.”

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.

“Concerns were raised to Equestrian Australia and the Government sporting agencies regarding Shane Rose’s attire at a recent closed event at Wallaby Hill, images of which were subsequently shared on social media,” the statement read.

“As with any high-performance athlete, Shane is bound by the High Performance and Equestrian Australia Codes of Conduct and Athlete Agreement.

“Equestrian Australia has an obligation to address these concerns and is currently reviewing the matter.”

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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