Who is Nayel Nassar? Jennifer Gates's Egyptian equestrian fiance competing in Olympics

The showjumper is representing Egypt in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games

Professional equestrian Nayel Nassar is currently in Tokyo, representing Egypt in individual showjumping.

Today, he made it through the individual qualifying rounds, ahead of the finals on Wednesday.

As well as his sporting prowess, Nassar, 30, is engaged to Jennifer Gates, 25, a medical student and daughter of Bill and Melinda Gates. It is not known when they plan to marry, but Jennifer celebrated her bachelorette party in June.

The couple announced their engagement in January 2020, with a post from Jennifer that read: "Nayel Nassar, you are one of a kind. Absolutely swept me off my feet this past weekend, surprising me in the most meaningful location over one of our many shared passions. I can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives learning, growing, laughing and loving together. Yes a million times over."

The couple have been together since 2018, and got engaged during a skiing holiday. They have a mutual love for equestrian sports.

Nayel Nassar the Olympian

Cheering her fiance on, Jennifer wrote on Instagram: "So proud of these two ... first Olympic Games! Can’t wait to cheer them on as they represent Team Egypt in Tokyo."

Speaking of the pre-event training with his horse, Igor Van De Wittemoere, Nassar wrote: "Igor was very fresh and spooky in the warm-up class tonight, after 10 days without jumping.

"But I hope he’ll round into form as the week goes on. He’s always a bit unpredictable on day one, which is why we use these warm-up classes to try to get out the kinks. Fingers crossed."

Ahead of competing, Nassar's father-in-law-to-be, Bill, posted his support for the Olympian on Instagram.

“I’m rooting for lots of athletes in Tokyo right now – but none more than my soon-to-be-son-in-law, Nayel Nassar. Good luck, Nayel!” he wrote.

Speaking of qualifying for the Olympics back in December, Nassar described the moment as special. "We had a large contingent from Egypt who came to support us and we felt like we had the strongest team in the Arab world. It would have been a huge disappointment for us not to qualify, so it felt great to pull together under pressure and deliver the clear rounds when they mattered most."

It is the first time an Egyptian equestrian team has qualified in six decades.

"We don’t get the opportunity to do many Nations Cups and Egypt had never won one in its history. So to beat all the other countries as well, even those who didn’t have Olympic qualification at stake, was just the icing on the cake."

Growing up in Kuwait

Nassar was born in Chicago, but grew up in Kuwait, where members of his family still live. In 2009, he moved to California, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in economics at Stanford University.

Instead of entering the world of finance, however, he carved out a successful career in showjumping.

Updated: August 3rd 2021, 4:02 PM
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