Sophie Christiansen OBE: Inclusion Expert Ambassador

Sophie Christiansen OBE is the Inclusion Expert Ambassador. On 21 May 2014 she was the guest of honour at the Inclusion Expert Award Ceremony at the House of Commons. Sophie is passionate about the work of Inclusion Expert, and believes it is a meaningful way of promoting real inclusion.

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Sophie Margaret Christiansen OBE is a celebrated British equestrian who has competed in three successive Paralympic Games, winning several medals. She was born two months prematurely with cerebral palsy and suffered from other health problems including jaundice, blood poisoning, a heart attack and a collapsed lung. At the age of six she began horse riding as a form of physiotherapy at her local Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) group. She completed both her undergraduate (with honours) and masters degrees in Mathematics from the University of London’s Royal Holloway College. She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2009 and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2013.

She first competed at the Paralympics aged 16 and was the youngest athlete for Great Britain at the 2004 Summer Paralympics, when she won her first medal. She was named BBC London Disabled Athlete of the Year in 2004. She won three gold medals at the 2005 European Championships in Hungary, and a bronze and a gold medal at the World Championships in 2007. In 2008 she represented Great Britain at the Summer Paralympics, where she won an individual gold medal in the freestyle and silver in the championship dressage, and a gold in the team open. Paralympics 2012 saw her claim gold once again. In honour of her achievements at the London 2012 games the Royal Mail painted a postbox gold in her original hometown of Sunningdale.

She is Britain’s first triple gold medallist at the Paralympic games.