Articles: Press Release
David O'Connor Wins Gold Medal in Individual Eventing
First Olympic Gold Medal For USET Since 1984!
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-September 22, 2000-David O'Connor of The Plains, VA won
the first Olympic Gold Medal for the United States Equestrian Team (USET)
since 1984 when he clinched the individual eventing championship on Custom
Made, a 15-year-old, Irish Thoroughbred gelding owned by Xandarius, LLC.
He finished the three-phase competition with a score of 34.00 penalties, the
best score in Olympic history. Placing second was Andrew Hoy of Australia
with a score of 39.80 on Swizzle In and two-time Olympic champion Mark Todd
of New Zealan d was third with a score of 42.00 on Eyespy II.
The USET placed two additional riders in the top 10. Bobby Costello of
Southern Pines, NC finished 8th with a score of 52.40 penalties on
Chevalier, an 11-year-old, Thoroughbred gelding owned by Deirdre Pirie, and
Julie Black of Newnan, GA finished 9th with a score of 53.60 on Hyde Park
Corner, a 10-year-old, American Thoroughbred gelding owned by Jim and Janet
For O'Connor, the Gold Medal topped a historic week. On Tuesday, he made
history by sharing an Olympic medal (team Bronze) with his wife Karen for
the second time. (They shared the eventing team Silver in 1996). On
Wednesday, O'Connor turned in the best eventing dressage score in Olympic
history when he opened the individual competition with a score of 29.00
penalties on Custom Made.
"It doesn't get any better," O'Connor said. "This is the one you always
dream about and it's hard to believe that it actually happened."
With the individual Gold Medal, O'Connor now joins Tad Coffin as the only
U.S. riders to win the eventing individual Gold. Coffin won in 1976 on Bally
Additionally, O'Connor now has won three Olympic Medals (1996 team Silver,
2000 team Bronze and individual Gold), two Pan American Games medals (1999
team Gold and individual Silver) and one World Championship medal (1998 team
Bronze) since 1996.
O'Connor actually threw a scare into his fans when he almost rode off course
after the sixth jump on course. "I was worried about two jumps on course and
this was one of them," O'Connor said. "When we landed I was kind of
half-listening to see if we knocked the rail down and then my mind just went
blank. Fortunately I remembered which way to turn and it all worked out.
"It was hard for me to feel too elated at first because I was so mad at
myself, but it didn't take too long to get over it."
O'Connor did have one rail down later on the course, but the five penalties
added to the 29.00 he carried into the competition gave him a total of
34.00, still good enough for the Gold Medal and the best score in Olympic
history, beating the 37.60 scored by Mark Todd in 1988.
O'Connor's win was also a magnificent birthday present for USET chef
d'equipe Captain Mark Phillips who turned 52 on the day O'Connor won Olympic
Gold for the U.S. "It was a great birthday present," Phillips said. "David
is a great rider and he represented our team and our country well."
Full results are available on www.olympics.com.