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Carl Hester has been named the equestrian “Olympic athlete of the year” by the British Olympic Association (BOA).

A winner was named in each of the 33 summer and winter Olympic sports to mark “outstanding performance” in 2011. Carl was part of the gold medal-winning team at the European Dressage Championships in August.

“Carl is an outstanding athlete who deserves international recognition for taking dressage in Great Britain to new heights,” said World Class performance director Will Connell.

The awards were introduced in 2005 to mark the BOA’s Centenary Year and the success of London being awarded the 2012 Olympic Games.

Andy Hunt, BOA chief executive said: “British sportsmen have produced some truly outstanding performances throughout 2011, winning no less than 50 medals in Olympic disciplines at World Championships.

“During the test events this year I saw first-hand the inspirational impact of the home crowd support on British athletes. This bodes well for next summer when the whole of the UK can play their part in helping Team tremendous display of mental andphysical strength and endurance.

“The Olympic Athlete of the Year award celebrates the excellence of athletes who represent the very best of British talent in their respective Olympic sports.”