In 1980, when David “Lee” Pearson was six years old, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher awarded him the Children of Courage Medal. Lee was born with congenital Arthrogryposis Multiplex, derived from the Greek meaning “curved joints.” It is a rare congenital disorder that causes the joints to contract. He so charmed Mrs. Thatcher that she personally carried him up the stairs at 10 Downing Street.
Lee lived up to that Children of Courage Award becoming one of Brittain’s most decorated equestrians. He began learning his riding skills on a donkey named Annie his parents gave to him as a child, because he couldn’t pedal the BMX bikes his brothers rode. From such humble beginnings, Lee rose to become a legend in the dressage world, winning to date, ten gold Paralympics medals, six World Championships, and three European Titles.
Lee is one of two openly gay athletes at the 2012 Paralympics having come out to his parents when he was 21. In 2010 he entered into a domestic partnership, according to English law, with rescue fireman Mark Latham, but the two are currently involved in a contentious divorce. Rumor has it there is a new love in Lee’s life, an 18-year-old groom named Ben who Lee refers to as his “partner”.
When he is not riding, Lee is known as a partier and a hell raiser. He listed his hobbies as “Quad bikes, jet skis, and clubbing til all hours” on the Paralympics information page. But there must be a business side to Lee as well, evidenced by his well-appointed stables which he traverses in a new white Range Rover.
Lee, who is the son of a lorry driver and a psychiatric nurse, insists he just an average guy, saying of himself to Emily Dugan of the Independent “I always say I’m one of the most normal abnormal people you’ll ever meet. I get embarrassed about how many medals I’ve won, and I get angry when people presume that because you’re gay you’ve got to wear pink and stilettos and camp it up, or that if you’re disabled you should act like a victim and not have a life.” Lee sounds like a man who knows where he’s going.
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