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15-08-1971

Harvey Smith disqualified from British Show Jumping Derby

Horse Nonsense

Today we recognise a grump, a contrarian and a true British hero. Harvey Smith was not your typical show jumper. Unlike his rather fancy upper class compatriots, Harvey was from Yorkshire and delighted telling you about it at every possibly opportunity. His blunt manner often got him into trouble - such as on this day in 1971 when he made a two-fingered 'V-sign' at the disgruntled judges after winning the British Show Jumping Derby.

Taking offence, Harvey was disqualified, but after protesting his innocence and a public backlash, his award was reinstated (even though Harvey later admitted that he was definitely flicking the Vs).As well as upsetting the showjumping world, Harvey dabbled with wrestling, released a single (True Love in 1975) and even made it into the dictionary. After his controversial finger placement, a v-sign expressed in anger became known as a ‘Harvey Smith’. I cannot think of a more deserving accolade.