Articles: Press Release
David O'Connor Records Best Score in Olympic History, Takes Lead in
Equestrian Individual Eventing
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-September 20, 2000-David O'Connor of The Plains, VA scored
29.0 penalties in the opening dressage phase of the individual eventing
competition, taking the lead with the best score in Olympic history.
O'Connor impressed the judges and amazed the crowd with his ride on his
veteran partner, Custom Made, a 15-year-old, Irish Thoroughbred gelding
owned by Xandari us, LLC. His ride was accurate and precise with good
cadence throughout and rese arch indicated that his score was the best ever
achieved in an Olympic eventing dressage test.
"He was just beautiful to ride today," said O'Connor who just the day before
made Olympic history by sharing an Olympic medal (eventing team Bronze) with
his wife for the second time. "When he floats like that, he's so enjoyable
"This has been coming for about six months; he's been getting stronger and
every one has done a great job. Today he felt good in his mind and he was
good in his body. He's really quite special when he comes together like
Standing second with a score of 34.80 is Marina Koehncke of Germany on
Longchamp s. Heidi Antikatzidis of Greece is third with a score of 37.40 on
Bobby Costello of Southern Pines, NC stands ninth after receiving a score of
42. 40 on Chevalier, an 11-year-old, Thoroughbred gelding owned by Deirdre
Pirie. The Hamilton, Massachusetts native was quick to credit
U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) chef d'equipe Captain Mark Phillips for his
performance on Chevalier.
"Mark had me so focused on what I was doing that I really wasn't at all
nervous about riding in my first Olympic Games," he said. "He works with us
in the warm-up arena here exactly as he did back in the States in March. He
keeps everything consistent and that certainly helped me stay even and
focused on my riding." The third USET rider in the individual competition,
Julie Black of Newnan, GA, scored 52.80 to sit in a tie for 22nd
place. Black felt that Hyde Park Corner, her 10-year-old, American
Thoroughbred gelding owned by Jim and Janet Richards, showed a bit of his
"He really wasn't nervous out there, but he did show how green he is," she
said. "He wasn't tense but he did shy a lot which kept my scores down. I
think he jus t needs to get used to atmosphere and he'll be good in
dressage. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to cross country which is what he
The individual eventing continues Thursday with cross country and concludes
on Friday with stadium jumping and the presentation of medals.
Full results are available on Olympics.Com.