(1956 - )
A legend in the sport of dressage (four riders), Robert
Dover once competed in six consecutive Olympiads for the United States'
equestrian team, the most ever for an American dressage rider.
Robert Dover was born in Chicago on June 7, 1956. He
began riding when he was 13-years old, and specialized in dressage when
he was 19. A graduate of the University of Georgia (he did not participate
in collegiate athletics while in Athens), Dover saw his equestrian career
take off in the 1980s. After his first Olympic appearance in 1984, Dover
helped the U.S. capture the North American championship the following
year. In 1987, Dover defeated six-time Olympic gold medalist Dr. Reiner
Klimke to win the Aachen Grand Prix in Germany before a crowd of 65,000.
This victory was the first time an American had won
at Aaschen since 1960, and Dover considers it the high point of his
distinguished career. He said the biggest thrill came during the awards
ceremony when the U.S. flag was raised and the band played The Star-Spangled
He made his international debut at the 1984 Los Angeles
Olympics, finishing in 17th place in the individual event (on Romantico)
while the U.S. placed sixth in the team competition.
Dover returned to the Olympics in 1988 at the Seoul
Games, where he had his best result in the individual dressage event,
finishing in 13th place. At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Dover won his
first medal, helping to lead the U.S. to a bronze medal in the team
competition. He finished 22nd in the individual dressage event (on his
In 1994, Dover was named "Male Equestrian of the
Year" by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
At the 1996 Atlanta Games, Dover won his second Olympic
medal and the U.S. finished in third place to win the bronze medal for
the second straight Olympiad. Dover also competed in the individual
dressage event and finished 23rd overall.
In 1998, Robert finished in fourth place in the team
dressage event at the World Equestrian Games.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Dover began suffering
from a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder and a pinched sciatic
nerve on his right side, both of which caused him tremendous pain. While
he used to ride many different horses all day, he now felt major back
pain after riding only two horses, and said, "My body is so shot.
Getting up just to walk around is hard for me."
At the 2000 Sydney Games, Dover captained the U.S.
equestrian team and helped lead the Americans to another bronze medal
(his third consecutive bronze), finishing behind Germany and the Netherlands.
Dover also competed in the individual dressage, and finished in 23rd
place. He said of being elected captain: "It is truly an honor
for me to represent my teammates on the dressage, eventing and jumping
squads as Olympic team captain...the USET riders here are all conducting
ourselves as teammates should and I am truly proud to serve as our captain."
Dover clinched his sixth Games berth at the 2004 Olympic
Dressage Trials when he won all four tests. In Athens, the veteran rode
FBW Kennedy, a Baden Wurttemberg gelding owned by Jane F. Clark. He
won a bronze medal, his fourth medal in six Olympics, in team dressage.
Dover manages a 30-horse stable in New Jersey.
Sources: Jews In