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Gay equestrian rider Lee Pearson is a 10-time gold medallist.

The XV Paralympic Games open in Rio on Wednesday night with Lee Pearson leading Great Britain into a sold out Maracana Stadium.

Pearson was nominated for the honour in a vote by his fellow 264 athletes from the 19 sports that make up the ParampicsGB team.

The paralympic legend competes at his fifth Games and describes himself as a “colourful character”.

He believes the fact “a gay bloke” has been selected as flag bearer by his 263 teammates shows the strength and diversity of the team and the nation.

ParalympicsGB chef de mission Penny Briscoe said Pearson had been “a cornerstone” of the equestrian team since the 2000 Games in Sydney.

“The team will be proud to march out behind him,” she added.

“I hope it is one of many memorable moments that he will take away from this Games, and wish him all the very best in his upcoming competition.”

Pearson was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, meaning his limbs were all twisted and have very little muscle.

He walks with crutches, but will use a mobility scooter at the ceremony.

“I’m worried about being blown away on my mobility scooter,” he said.

“I’ll be numb with emotion and pride.”

All horses and riders have arrived in Brazil, with the equestrian competition starting on 11 September and running until 18 September.



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