Dutton to ride for America
8 December 2006
Dual Olympic Team Gold medallist Phillip Dutton has notified the Equestrian Federation of Australia that he plans to change nationality in order to ride for the United States.
Dutton is one of Australia’s most experienced international Three-Day Eventing competitors, having competed in three Olympic Games and four World Championships since his international debut in 1994.
The 43-year-old was part of Australia’s gold medal winning Eventing teams at the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics and was the flag bearer for the Australian team in the opening ceremony of this year’s World Equestrian Games in Germany.
Dutton, originally from Nyngan, NSW, moved to the USA in 1991 and lives with his American wife Evie, and daughters Lee Lee, Mary and Olivia in Avondale, Pennsylvania.
“I would like to thank the EFA for everything they have done for me and my career as a Three-Day Event rider,” Dutton wrote in a letter informing the EFA of his decision.
“It has been an honour to be a member of the EFA and to represent Australia internationally for the past 12 years.” Dutton said the decision had been the hardest of his career.
“Please know that Australia and the EFA will always be in my heart as I move forward in this new chapter of my life,” he wrote.
EFA Chairman and President Geoff Sinclair said: “Whilst Phillip's decision means a considerable loss for Australia, we do not wish to stand in the way of an athlete who has built up a great career in the USA and has his family and home there.”
“We have been in contact with the Australian Olympic Committee which has agreed to a speedy transfer”, Mr. Sinclair said.
“On behalf of all EFA members, we wish Phillip, Evie and their family all the best.”
Dutton is very active on the US Eventing circuit and was named US Eventing Association Leading Rider of the Year in 1998 (the first time this title had been given to a foreign rider) and for seven years straight from 2000 to 2006.
In 2005 he was also the No.1 FEI World Event Rider. As well as competing, Dutton spends much of his time coaching riders, including the US Area II Young Riders in 2001 and 2002.
He was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2001 and was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1997 and the Australian Sports Medal in 2000.