EINDHOVEN, The Netherlands, Jan. 13–Michael Barisone has been named “unofficial Sportsman of the Year” by the magazine Horse International for giving up his place in the 2009 Exquis World Dressage Masters Grand Prix Freestyle in Palm Beach to Anky van Grunsven.
Barisone, of Long Valley, New Jersey, made the gesture after the Grand Prix in the January, 2009, €100,000 (US$144,000) event when Anky and IPS Painted Black finished in ninth place. Only eight could advance to the freestyle.
Michael was among those eight–he finished fifth–but offered to give up his place in the freestyle to Anky because he said that thousands of fans had paid to watch the nine-time World Cup champion compete in the musical kür and they should not be deprived of the opportunity.
The switch worked for both of them.
Michael ended up winning the Grand Prix Special and Anky won the freestyle.