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Robert Dover’s new book The Gates To Brilliance offers life lessons and fun stories

Among other moments, Dover talks about other riders betting on him being gay, and coming out at the Olympics.

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Robert Dover is a true trailblazer, the first publicly out athlete at the Olympics and the most decorated American dressage rider of all time.
Robert Dover / Instagram

Robert Dover is a four-time Olympic medalist, seven-time U.S. National Champion, and is the most decorated American dressage rider of all time.

He’s now also an author, with a brand new book, The Gates To Brilliance. He joins Outsports podcast Five Rings To Rule Them All this week to talk about the book, the life lessons therein, and some of the interesting or fun stories he shares.

Certainly a highlight is how in 1988 he became the first LGBTQ Olympic athlete to be publicly out while competing. He talks about blurting it out at a press availability, and how suddenly people in the media wanted to follow him around the Games.

That lasted a couple days.

“About three days later, Greg Louganis hit the diving board and bled into the pool,” Dover said, “so there was no discussion about Robert Dover after that. It was all Greg.”

Leading up to his public coming out was an incident with a woman at a competition. The woman hit on him pretty hard, and Dover — in the closet but knowing he was gay — was left trying to brush it off without looking disinterested.

“The next day I found out that the international jumping riders who were at the show had formed a pool and had put money into this pool, either that I would go to bed with her or I would not,” Dover said. “That was embarrassing, but it spoke to exactly what the world of sport was like back then, that they would make that kind of a joke about it.”

Dover also talks about some incredible ups and downs in his career, with one of his great performances coming at the Athens Summer Olympics in 2004.

“That competition was fantastic and one of the highlights,” he said.

Dover retired from competition a few years after those Olympics with four Olympic bronze medals. In 2016 he was named Chef d’Equipe for the US dressage team and again helped lead them to a bronze medal.

Whether you’re a fan of dressage or not, there are some great insights and stories in the book, and it’s a fun read. You can pick up a copy at Trafalgar Square Books, Amazon, or just Google the title and you’ll see other options.

On Nov. 4 at 7pmET, Dover will be hosting a conversation on Instagram Live and Facebook Live talking about his new book.

You can listen to the conversation with Olympian Robert Dover on the Five Rings To Rule Them All podcast on Megaphone, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple podcasts and many more platforms. Just search for Outsports wherever you get your podcast.

And be sure to follow Five Rings To Rule Them All on Twitter.

You can find Robert Dover on Instagram and Twitter.