‘Storm in a teacup’: board member resigns over Olympic rider’s mankini review

  • The chairman of Equestrian Australia’s (EA) integrity committee has resigned over the manner in which the organisation dealt with the “storm in a teacup” caused by Shane Rose’s wearing a mankini in a fancy dress class.

    H&H reported yesterday (19 February) that Olympic medal-winning eventer Shane had been temporarily stood down from competition months before the Paris Olympics, while EA reviewed a complaint about his costume in an eventers versus showjumpers jumping competition.

    Thousands of people signed a petition in support of Shane, and EA announced yesterday its review had concluded, finding Shane had not breached EA and high-performance codes of conduct.

    But yesterday Tim Palmer, EA board member and integrity committee chair, posted a video on social media announcing his resignation.

    “I’d like to make it clear I fully support Shane and don’t agree with the manner this trivial situation has been handled,” he said. “At no point was the issue brought to my attention before Shane was stood down.

    “I believe we should work on the principle of innocent until proven guilty. And in relation to these specific allegations, I want to be clear: Shane wasn’t accused of anything serious, such as mistreating a horse or cheating, misappropriating funds or abuse – but rather a simple matter of decorum. I have no problem with the way he dressed during a fancy dress competition.”

    Mr Palmer said there was “clearly a disconnect” between himself and the position EA took.

    “Therefore I have tendered my resignation from the board, effective immediately,” he said. “Hopefully this storm in a teacup is shut down fairly quickly and without further delay, and allows Shane to focus on preparing for the Paris Olympics. Best wishes to Shane.”

    An EA spokesman told H&H: “Equestrian Australia has a very capable board that we’re confident will continue to lead the sport through to Paris and beyond. We thank Mr Palmer for his contribution and wish him well for his future endeavours.”

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