Shane Rose
Shane Rose, seen in conventional show-jumping dress, is being probed after competing in a mankini. Image by AP PHOTO
  • equestrian

Showjumper Rose apologises, cleared for mankini stunt

February 19, 2024

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.

Rio 2016 eventing bronze-medal winner Shane Rose (second from right).
 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.