Articles: Press Release
Pony Power Prevails at 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2007
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil-Going into the third and final day of the
eventing portion of the XV Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, the top
three riders (all member of Team USA) were separated by less than two
points. With all the remaining horses passing the final horse
inspection, the U.S. support team had a busy afternoon on Sunday, July
22, with five of the remaining 21 horses representing the U.S.
The Gold medal won by the team is only the beginning of the story.
When it was all over, Theodore O'Connor, a.k.a. "super Ted," came out on
top and proved to his bigger competition that he was the best of them
all today. The powerful pony looked awfully small when he cantered into
the main arena at Deodoro, but he belied his 14.1 hands under jockey
Karen O'Connor and brought the American supporters to their feet in
taking home two Gold medals to their Virginia base.
"It's a fairytale," said O'Connor. "The team around me and all the
instruction I've gotten...it's a big team effort."
Spring-heeled, 11-year-old "Teddy," as he is known to all of his
friends, has a huge fan club everywhere he goes. He had one rail down,
the second part of the two-stride combination at fence six, but both
pony and rider maintained their composure and finished without further
penalty and a score of 52.7.
"He's such a wonderful horse," O'Connor said. "A lot of people have put
a lot of faith in him, and he has developed into a real top athlete
regardless of his size."
Bred by P. Wynn Norman, who still has some ownership in him as part of
the Theodore O'Connor Syndicate, the Thoroughbred/Arabian/Shetland cross
has rewritten history with his prolific performance.
Stephen Bradley and Charlotte Harris' From laid the groundwork for the
U.S. team, after an unfortunate mistake in the water jump on the
cross-country left them out of individual medal contention, Bradley's
experience around the Jorge Guilherme's show jumping track would be a
safety net if any of the other three team riders had a disaster.
The 14-year-old Russian Thoroughbred gelding looked somewhat weary from
his efforts on Saturday and had three rails down to finish in 13th
"He definitely felt tired," said Bradley. "He was struggling a little
bit in the warm-up, so I knew we were in trouble when we went into the
ring. He still tried really hard, and I was really proud of him even if
it wasn't meant to be this weekend."
Regardless of his individual result, this weekend's team effort makes
Bradley a back-to-back Gold medalist, adding this medal to his 2003
hardware on his bookshelf at home.
"Any time you represent your country it's an honor, especially with this
group of people that I got to be on the team with," he said. "The whole
group has been so supportive and so cohesive during the hard and the
good. The idea of being on two back-to-back Pan Am teams is an honor in
Gina Miles and the giant, McKinlaigh, had the fastest time of the day
during cross-country, where the pair virtually stepped around the
course. The 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse was in a tie for fourth with
Canadian Kyle Carter, but Carter was closer to the optimum time on the
cross-country. It ended up not making a difference after Carter had two
rails down and two time faults with Madison Park. Riding as part of the
team, Miles guided McKinlaigh around the arena as if the track was half
"It hasn't always been easy," said Miles of her horse's show jumping
effort. "But now he's stronger and more rideable. He had rails at
Intermediate because he just wasn't strong enough but I do level seven
show jumping with him now, and he jumps clean."
Owned by Thomas Schulz and Laura Coats, McKinlaigh jumped a beautiful
clean round and won the Individual Bronze medal. They finished on their
dressage score of 56.3, the only combination of the entire competition
to do so.
Riding as an individual, the reigning Individual Gold medalist from the
2003 Pan American Games, Darren Chiacchia lay third over night with
Adrienne Iorio's Better I Do It. The beautiful15-year-old Swedish
Warmblood gelding never found his rhythm in the ring and looked slow off
the ground at some of the fences. He had four fences down and dropped to
fifth, moving Miles up.
Phillip Dutton, riding under the U.S. flag for the first time, lay in
the Silver-medal position after the cross-country on the strength of a
clean and fast cross-country round with Truluck. Dutton jumped a
textbook clean round today on the rangy Thoroughbred, but picked up four
time faults in the process to finish on a score of 53.8 which afforded
O'Connor a little bit of breathing room.
Still somewhat inexperienced, the 10-year-old gelding owned by Ann Jones
and Shannon Stimson, continues to improve.
"The horse jumped really well," said Dutton. "It was a big improvement
from Kentucky. It was just a little bit of rider judgment that we didn't
get a second or two closer to the time. He got a little bit knocked
around yesterday. He got a bad overreach, so overall, I'm very excited
and happy with him."
So with individual medals to play for, it was all up to the super pony.
And he delivered.
The team of Bradley, Dutton, Miles and O'Connor comfortably won a third
consecutive Team Gold medal for the U.S. finishing on a score of 162.8
over Canada's 211.1. To the delight of the Brazilian fans, their team
took home a Bronze medal on a score of 235.6 and finished all six of
their horses, two of which show jumped clean.
Equestrian competition continues on Thursday with the final of the three
disciplines contested at the Pan American Games - show jumping.
For more information please contact Joanie Morris, Communications
Manager, High Performance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the National Governing Body (NGB) of Equestrian Sport, the United
States Equestrian Federation(r), Inc. (USEF) is the regulatory body for
28 breeds and disciplines, including our country's international teams
competing in the disciplines of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing,
para-equestrian, reining, show jumping and vaulting. With over 87,000
members, it is the country's largest multi-breed organization and
annually license more than 2,800 competitions nationwide. The USEF
governs all aspects of competition, including education and licensing of
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