Edward Gal and Hans Peter Minderhoud are gay partners who will compete together in equestrian for the Netherlands at the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. Marlies van Balen will round out the Dutch team with the couple.
The two have competed together many times before, including at the Olympics in Rio in 2016, where they finished fourth. Together they won a team dressage bronze medal at the 2014 World Championships. Individually the two men each have an Olympic medal: silver for Minderhoud in 2008 and bronze for Gal in 2012.
Gal famously bested the American team that year, which included a horse owned by Ann Romney, the wife of Mitt Romney who was running for President at the time and was against gay marriage.
Minderhoud and Gal have been proudly out about their relationship, talking about it publicly and not shying away from it.
To be sure, it’s not uncommon for a man to be gay in the equestrian sport of dressage, as some of the best to ever compete — including Robert Dover, Blyth Tait and Carl Hester — are publicly out as gay.
“In our sport it’s not an exception being gay,” Minderhoud has said.
It’s not clear how long the couple has been together, though they spoke publicly about their relationship as early as 2008, Gal joking to eurodressage.com that one of the benefits is “we only need one hotel room now.”
That year, the two were competitors aiming for a lone spot on the 2008 Olympic team, which Minderhoud eventually secured.
Still, Minderhoud said it’s a benefit being in a relationship in the same sport.
“Competitions are a way of life and it is so much fun if you are with someone who precisely understands that and knows what you are doing, dedicating all your time to horses,” Minderhoud said.
For his part, Hester will be competing in his sixth Olympic Games, tied with Dover for the most-ever by a known LGBTQ athlete, according to historian Tony Scupham-Bilton.