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Friday 19 September 2014

O'Connor to rejoin teammates for airport welcome

Published 13/08/2012 | 05:00

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Olympic medallist Cian O'Connor takes his bronze-winning horse Blue Lloyd 12 for a walk at the Waterside Stud in Co Meath yesterday

OLYMPIC show-jumping bronze medallist Cian O'Connor will rejoin his Ireland teammates today when they arrive at Dublin Airport.

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The 32-year-old returned home late last week to prepare for the Dublin Horse Show.

He clinched third place in London's Greenwich Park following two rounds and a dramatic jump-off. Now he has his sights set on the annual event at the RDS as a member of Ireland's Aga Khan Cup team.

Cian, who will take time out from his training to rejoin Team Ireland for a press conference at the airport later today, said he hopes his good luck will remain with him.

"Show jumping is all about confidence," he said. "Sometimes when you get a run of luck you're on a roll, and that's why I wanted to come back -- to have myself and my horses in good shape.

"Hopefully we can give the crowds something to cheer about."

It was only on the eve of the Olympics that Cian's place was secured after Denis Lynch was dropped because his horse, Lantinus, had a hypersensitivity issue at a Nations' Cup event.

Cian didn't qualify for the final, but was called as a first reserve after the withdrawal of Sweden's silver medallist.

"I knuckled down and got on with it," he said. "It's an amazing experience to represent your country at the Olympics. It's the greatest honour."

Cian has shaken off the controversy surrounding his being stripped of his gold medal in Athens eight years ago after his horse, Waterford Crystal, tested positive for a banned sedative.

Wrongdoing

He denied any wrongdoing, and the Federation Equestre Internationale accepted he was not involved in a deliberate attempt to influence his horse's performance.

Cian said it was time to move on, citing the fact that Brazilian Rodrigo Pessoa was his country's flag-bearer in London, despite having been disqualified from the Beijing Games in 2008 after his horse tested positive for drugs.

He also pointed to German equestrian Christian Ahlmann, who was suspended from Beijing but was in London.

"People have had their ups and downs and have come back from it," he said.

"I've had a lot of success since and I concentrate on the good people around me. I don't worry about anybody else."

Irish Independent

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