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GEORGE Michele
Sport Equestrian
NPC Belgium   
GenderWomen
Age47
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
GRADE V
Further Personal Information
Family
Children Camille and Pierre-Paul
Residence
Waregem, BEL
Occupation
Athlete, 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."
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."
Senior International Debut
Year
2009
Competing for
Belgium
Tournament
European Championships
Location
Norway
General Interest
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
Along with goalball player Bruno Vanhove, she was named flag bearer for Belgium at the opening ceremony of the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (paralympic.be, 28 Jul 2021)

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)
Milestones
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. (SportsDeskOnline, 06 Sep 2018; fei.org, 02 Sep 2012)
Impairment
In 2008 her left knee was shattered after she was kicked by a foal. The injury resulted in paralysis in her left leg. (hln.be, 30 Aug 2014; Athlete, 07 Aug 2012)
Other information
PARALYMPIC HORSE FAREWELL
In October 2019 her horse FBW Rainman passed away following a colic attack. Together they won two gold medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and another gold at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. "What I remember most is that you were the one who inspired me day after day to climb out of that wheelchair. You were the one who taught me how to fight back, you showed me day after day that loving someone may never be a one way direction. There was that special thing called chemistry, something others never really understood." (eurodressage.com, 13 Oct 2019; Facebook profile, 13 Oct 2019)

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
1 2021 Individual Championship Test - Grade V 76.524
5 2021 Team 223.087
1 2021 Individual Freestyle - Grade V 80.590 
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
3 2019 Individual Championship Test - Grade V 72.571
4 2019 Team 216.072
3 2019 Individual Freestyle - Grade V 74.720
World Ranking (31 Oct 2015)
Rank Year Event Result
9 2015 Individual Ranking  
9 2015 Individual Ranking  
9 2015 Individual Ranking