Michel Assouline, USA Para-Dressage Coach, Named American Paralympic Coach of Year by US Olympic & Paralympic Committee

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Michael Assouline. © USEF

Feb. 16, 2021

Michel Assouline, United States para-dressage coach, on Tuesday was named American Paralympic Coach of the Year by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

The USOPC cited his success in creating significant performance improvements over the past three years that led to the U.S. para dressage team ranking No. 1 in the world based on scores that the committee said “would have tracked Team USA to be on the podium at Tokyo 2020.”

Michel, 65 years old, was appointed by the U.S. Equestrian Federation in May, 2017 to head para-equestrian coach development and high performance consultant.

The USOPC announcement said: “His innovation and persistent drive to grow the sport and expand the program has positively impacted the Para Dressage community in the United States. Through the pandemic, Assouline has helped athletes work through emotional pressures and repositioned training schedules by utilizing technology and focusing on enhanced communication to ensure athlete preparation and confidence.

“His efforts have included the integration of online judging and virtual coaching, as well as the organization of group and one-on-one meeting sessions, resulting in significant performance improvement from athletes across a range of grades at the 2020 U.S. Para Dressage National Championships in October 2020.

“In just three years, Michel has built the Para Coach Certification Program, introduced across the country during the latter part of 2019 and in early 2020, which saw significant participation and 32 coaches joining the program.

“In March 2020, the U.S. Para Dressage Team ranked No. 1 in the world having achieved scores that would have tracked Team USA to be on the podium at Tokyo 2020. At the heart of Assouline’s success is his ability to work with each athlete and build a specialized program around them to improve their development and performance, best exemplified by Roxanne Trunnell, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the world in her grade and across all Para-equestrian grades.”

Before joining US Equestrian, Michel spent nearly 12 years as head coach of the British para-equestrian dressage program where he led the Great Britain athletes to a record-breaking four silver and seven gold medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

He was awarded the Mussabini Medal, a sports award recognizing British coaches, and was inducted into the UK Coaching Hall of Fame.