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GEORGE Michele
Sport Equestrian
NPC Belgium   
GenderWomen
Age44
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Further Personal Information
Marital status
Married
Family
Husband Vangheluwe Bernard, children Camille and Pierre-Paul
Residence
Amougies, BEL
Occupation
Athlete, Business Owner, Coach, Horse Trainer
Languages
Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She began riding in 1986 at age 12 in Ostend, Belgium. "My mother wanted me to show horses one day, so we went to a small club where I sat on a horse for the first time. I was so impressed that I couldn't sleep. I was dreaming day and night of those wonderful animals." She began with racehorses, moved to showjumping and then to dressage.
Why this sport?
After her accident, doctors told her that she may have to use a wheelchair for life. "At that time I had 20 horses at home. Throwing in the towel was not an option. so I decided to learn to stand up again [with crutches] and take some steps. A few weeks later I was riding again, and after around six months I entered a dressage competition and won. One of the judges then referred me to the national para-dressage coach."
Club / Team
Michele George Dressage Stable: Amougies, BEL
Name of coach
Walter Van Haegenborgh [national], BEL
Senior International Debut
Year
2009
Competing for
Belgium
Tournament
European Championships
Location
Norway
General Interest
Hobbies
Spending time with her children, gardening. (cavalor.com, 01 Jul 2016)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning two gold medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and claiming another two golds at the 2014 World Equestrian Games [WEG] in Normandy, France. (cavalor.com, 01 Jul 2016)
Most influential person in career
Her husband. (Athlete, 07 Aug 2012)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"The sky is the limit. Live your life and follow your dreams." (michele-george.be, 11 Jan 2015; Athlete, 07 Aug 2012)
Awards and honours
In 2012 she became the first para-rider to win the Equestrala award, which is presented to Belgium's Rider of the Year. (paralympic.org, 10 Dec 2012)
Impairment
She has paralysis in her left leg due to a riding accident. (Athlete, 07 Aug 2012)
Other information
NATIONAL FIRST
She became the first Belgian rider to win a gold medal in dressage at the Paralympic Games, when she and her horse Rainman placed first in the Grade IV open individual championship test at the 2012 Games in London. (fei.org, 02 Sep 2012; SportsDeskOnline, 06 Sep 2018)

BUSINESS
She runs Michele George Dressage from her stables in Amougies, Belgium, where she trains horses and riders in dressage. (michele-george.be, 03 Oct 2015)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games
Rank Year Event Result
1 2012 Individual Championship Test - Grade IV 77.065
5 2012 Team 427.000
1 2012 Individual Freestyle - Grade IV 82.100
2 2016 Individual Championship Test - Grade IV 74.333
5 2016 Team 422.834
1 2016 Individual Freestyle - Grade IV 76.300
World Equestrian Games
Rank Year Event Result
12 2010/2011 Individual Championship Test - Grade IV 989
5 2010/2011 Team 400.848
2 2010/2011 Individual Freestyle - Grade IV 78.050
1 2014 Individual Championship Test - Grade IV 74.881
1 2014 Individual Freestyle - Grade IV 78.600
European Championships
Rank Year Event Result
6 2013 Individual Championship Test - Grade IV 67.952
6 2013 Individual Freestyle - Grade IV 69.950
6 2013 Team 414.875
9 2015 Individual Championship Test - Grade IV 65.667
7 2015 Team 410.472
5 2017 Individual Championship Test - Grade V 67.595
  2017 Individual Freestyle - Grade V  EL
7 2017 Team 209.728
World Ranking (31 Oct 2015)
Rank Year Event Result
9 2015 Individual Ranking  
9 2015 Individual Ranking  
9 2015 Individual Ranking